Winter driving: tips for tackling snowy, icy roads

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Tips for tackling winter roads
WATCH ABOVE: Winter driving can be stressful. Quinn Campbell catches up with a driving instructor who has a few helpful tips for driving in southern Alberta – Jan 15, 2016

LETHBRIDGE- New drivers, old drivers, or those who are out of practice can be intimidated by winter driving, but we spoke to a seasoned certified driving instructor who came out of retirement to offer tips for brushing up on driving skills.

While maneuvering through an icy residential area, John Deys was quick to point out the most common mistakes.

“Speed, no signal, not watching conditions and thinking, ‘oh, it’s not as bad as it really is’,” Deys, who was an instructor for nearly 20 years, said.

When venturing out of your driveway and onto busy streets, don’t follow too close. Deys said you never know if a patch of ice is hiding under a skiff of snow. As for tackling hills like Whoop Up Drive in Lethbridge, don’t ride your brakes.

“If you need to slow down, slow down–then let it go again, let it free wheel,” Deys said.

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READ MORE: Winter tires important, but so are the right rims

If your car starts to slide when trying to brake or turn a corner, don’t panic.

“You don’t need to pump, just [stay] nice and steady. Push your brake down and it will kick in, just to where it’s comfortable. When you hear that crackle, that’s your ABS brakes kicking in,” he said, referring to anti-lock braking systems.

When staying off the roads isn’t an option, Deys said it’s in your best interest to plan ahead.

“If you know you have snow and ice on the road, and you have to be at work at 8 a.m., leave ten minutes earlier. What’s ten minutes of your life?”

If you are venturing outside the city, major highways can cause added stress, he said, especially when large semis pass by.

“When it blows up snow in particular, ease off right away and take a look to wherever you can see a division, like a yellow line in the centre or a white line on the side. Focus on it; don’t look ahead of you, because you can’t see anything anyways.”

READ MORE: First Alberta snowfall prompts rush for winter tires

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