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You might be driving wrong on icy roads


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It has been a relatively mild start to winter for much of the U.S., but it won’t be long until many of us encounter icy roads (if you haven’t already this season).

“It’s been a while since we have been able to do that and … it’s definitely scary, you know, definitely got to make sure the tires are good,” driver Lorenzo Brown Jr. told Nexstar’s KELO after South Dakota was hit by some winter weather earlier this week.

Even for the most seasoned winter driver, it is important to take extra precautions when roads are snowy and icy.

“So I see it quite often, people jackrabbit start from the stoplights — you got to quit that. Nice, easy acceleration. Let your car warm up just so you’re comfortable and can think without freezing while you’re driving,” Airway Auto Service owner Tom Broadbent explained when asked about driving in winter weather.

While many people learned to pump their brakes when stopping on ice, many new cars have an anti-locking brake system, which means you just have to hold down your foot on the pedal.

“New cars have anti-lock brake systems,” Broadbent said. “So they’re watching the vehicles’ speed on the wheels. So the system watches each wheel independently. So as a tire starts to skid, when you step on the brakes, it’ll actually pull the fluid away and let that tire roll to keep the car under control.”

Broadbent says it’s beneficial to have winter tires with these conditions.

“They are a godsend when you have them in icy conditions because they’re made to grip that ice. A lot of them have some sort of assistance set up, whether it be graphite or walnut shell or something that actually bites the ice,” Broadbent said.

When navigating these icy roads, safety comes first and foremost.

“You need to slow down. You need to heed to the warnings that the highway patrol puts out, sheriff’s department, if they’re advising no travel, don’t travel. It’s that simple. So if you have to go, be really, really cautious,” Broadbent said.

Broadbent recommends traveling slower than the posted speed limit, too. And you’ll want to leave plenty of space between you and the other vehicles on the road. If you do find yourself sliding on ice, AAA recommends taking your foot off of the gas and turning your steering wheel gently in the same direction. Then, once back on the pavement, you can gently use your brakes.

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