Tips given for safer driving in winter

While there is no substitute for hands-on professional instruction and actual driving experience, Jerry Pearl of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School offers the following tips to drivers in winter conditions:

Be prepared: Before you set out in winter weather, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped. That means snow tires or chains in extreme conditions.

Slow down: Driving too fast is the number-one winter driving error, Pearl said. “Read the road to choose the appropriate speed,” he said. Slippery roads make every mistake happen faster and more dramatically. And do not think antilock brakes, stability systems or other vehicle control mechanisms will help you if you are sliding. “If you’re going too fast, you’re going to go off the road and nothing’s going to change that.”

Look ahead: “Winter drivers need to use their eyes more effectively,” he said. Not only should you be aware of road ice and other slippery conditions, but you should also double the distance you normally allow between you and the car in front of you. An easy calculation for this distance is four car lengths for every 10 mph you are traveling. That means if you are doing 40 mph, you should leave 16 car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead. Also, Pearl said, look ahead and

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