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Snowy commute: tips for white-knuckle drivers

CALGARY – Who hasn’t had a close call on snowy, icy roads around Calgary?

“Your heart just starts racing and your car is fishtailing on the highway. That’s definitely part of why I started driving school, to know what to do in those situations,” says 18 year old Youssef Beauferris.

He’s taking his first driving lesson amongst some of Calgary’s worst road conditions.

18 year old Youssef Beauferris shares tips from his first driving lessons
18 year old Youssef Beauferris shares tips from his first driving lessons. Dani Lantella, Global News

His instructor Karen Watterson says the most common mistake is simply driving too fast for conditions.

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“Speed signs are designed for dry clear road conditions, they are not for winter snow driving.”

Giving yourself more than two seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you tops the list of advice. But what about the pesky tailgater behind you?

“Just before they hit you, you release the brakes so the car takes the impact, not your body,” says Watterson.

How about a slippery hill?

“If you are sliding down a hill, I would say put yourself in neutral, take the drive out of the tires, and then maybe try a little bit of soft pressure on the brakes,” suggests Watterson.

And, please, don’t be the proverbial Grandma doing 30 kilometers an hour on Deerfoot Trail.

“They can become just as big a hazard as somebody speeding because the people behind them may not recognize that person is going that slow.”

If you’re nervous, drive during off-peak hours and pick lower speed routes.

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