Avoiding crashes and spinouts in the winter weather - KMSP-TV

Avoiding crashes and spinouts in the winter weather

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(WJBK) -

An accident or a car in the ditch is a sight that's become too familiar this winter. We've seen slick and snowy conditions over and over again, and we've still got a long way to go.

"We counted 14 cars in the ditch and about 10 or 12 accidents, and that doesn't include the 14 in the ditch," says driver John Jackson.

Rachel Wilson has been teaching drivers training for AAA for nearly eight years now. She says space is key.

"Drive slower. Do everything slower. Give yourself more time to break, more time to accelerate, slower on turns and curves," Wilson says. She adds, many times it's better to take the road most traveled, like the interstate, because they are often plowed first. Also, stick to the lanes with the clearest path.

"Going too slow or too fast is always a problem. You always want to stay with the flow of traffic as best you can. If you're too nervous to go the speed the rest of the traffic is going maybe finding another road that suites your comfort level the best," Wilson says.

Drivers education now teaches to keep your hands should be at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel for airbag safety, and instead of leaving a car's length between you and another car, the length between you and another car is now based on time.

"You have vehicle ahead of you. When they reach a fixed object, like a shadow or sign on the road, you start to count. When you get to that point you stop counting and that's your following distance," Wilson explains. "On a normal day we could encourage people to give 3 to 4 seconds following space. On roads we're seeing now, maybe 8 to 10, which seems extreme but it is appropriate."

This winter weather can make even the most experienced drivers cringe, so be careful and give yourself time.

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