Tips For Safe Winter Weather Driving

Monday, December 15th 2008, 5:47 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, News on 6

TULSA, OK -- We all know icy conditions are dangerous for driving, but people keep making the same mistakes.

People know what they should do, but they often don't do them because they don't think a wreck will happen to them.

Two things you should always do: slow down and buckle-up. The one thing you shouldn't do: lock-up when you start to slide.

Thousands of videos on the internet show all the things you shouldn't do when sliding and skidding in bad weather.

One video showed a driver sliding down the street, hit a pole and yet kept his foot on the gas, which just sent him slamming into one thing after another.

Generally, drivers will slam on their brakes, lock-up their wheels and aren't able to steer their way back to control.

"When they get into a spin or an off road situation, take your foot off the gas, don't panic, depress the brake, use controlled steering and try to get the vehicle to stop in a controlled manner," said Lt. George Brown with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Some people close their eyes, lock their arms and don't steer at all, hoping for the best. Others yank the wheel hard in the opposite direction they're heading. That almost guarantees a crash. Neither option helps you get back on track.

"If you're beginning to spin off the road to the right, steer to the right until you regain traction, same goes for left," said Lt. Brown.

Even if the roads look clear, after sand and salt have been spread on it and if other cars are speeding up to normal speeds, don't be fooled. With temperatures staying below freezing, many patches of ice will remain and are hard to see.

"This black ice is so thin, it takes on the look of the roadway. So you don't see it, especially in low light conditions," said Lt. Brown.

Even if you follow all the rules, you need to leave plenty of space from all the vehicles around you, in case other drivers do not.