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5 Tips to safe driving in wintry conditions

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 09 2013 10:05:51 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 04:51:59 AM CST

Driving instructor offers advice for those who have to navigate through snow and ice

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

There is no doubt, winter is officially among us and knowing the basics of how to drive in such weather is a big part of staying safe.

Here are five things every driver should know for winter driving conditions:

The first may seem obvious, but experts say is one of the most important and that is to slow down.

"To keep your car from going out of control, it's best just to keep your car going under 25 miles per hour,” said Andre Wilkerson, owner of AW Driving School.

How to brake has always caused some debate, depending on what kind of braking system the car has.

However, Wilkerson says even with anti-lock brakes, the safest thing to do is to pump the brakes gently, "Definitely want to pump the brake until you feel that you have some traction and then apply the brake in a safe manner to stop the car," he said.

Wilkerson also reiterated the importance of using a lower gear to get around in nasty weather, especially when going uphill.

First gear for example, or L gear, transfers max power or force to the wheels but at a low max speed.

“When you put it in L the engine keeps you from going over 25 miles an hour, so you'll know instantly when you're going too fast...You can put it in third, whatever the lowest gear your car has, especially when there's ice on the ground,” said Wilkerson.

Tailgating is also a horrible idea when roads are slick, Wilkerson recommends keeping one to two car lengths from the car in front of you giving you more time and distance to brake if necessary.

Finally, Wilkerson says it pays to pay attention.

“Be aware of other drivers around you because you can avoid an accident if someone else loses control of their vehicle by looking to see where they are,” he said.