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Expert Advice For Driving In Slick, Wintry Conditions

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A motorist drives down an icy road. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A motorist drives down an icy road. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Lou Young headshot Lou Young
A native New Yorker, Lou Young joined CBS 2 in June 1994. He has...
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LAKEVILLE, Conn. (CBS 2) — It would be nice for Tri-State residents to park their cars until spring, but unfortunately, driving on snow and ice is a necessity for many.

CBS 2’s Lou Young got advice from an expert on how to stay safe when driving in wintry conditions.

Professional driver Rick Roso took to the track at Lime Rock Park to demonstrate what drivers shouldn’t do on slick surfaces, and how to avoid trouble when the rubber doesn’t quite meet the road.

“Let’s see your eyes up high,” Roso said.

Roso’s first tip was “eye high” – to look ahead, way ahead, not just on the road ahead but to any upcoming curves and beyond.

The second bit of advice he gave was for “soft hands, soft feet” – gentle movements, and light touch on the wheel and the brake.

“Nothing is abrupt when you’re in the snow and ice,” Roso said.

It turns out that you can keep control of the car at a pretty good speed, even on ice, if you avoid sudden movements or harsh braking.

Even if you follow that advice, though, it’s not always possible to avoid an emergency. Sometimes something will be in your way, whether it’s a child or a tree, that you’ll need to avoid.

Roso said the old advice of pumping your brakes on snow and ice no longer applies. Virtually all cars have computer-controlled anti-lock brake systems, which allow you to brake and steer at the same time.

“The computer does the pumping of the brakes for you,” Roso said. “Stay on it as hard as you can, you can still steer around the problem.”

For emergency stopping, it’s also important to stay on the brake – don’t pump.

Another important thing to note is that four-wheel drive gives you no advantage when it comes to stopping on ice. It’ll get you moving well enough, but stopping rules are the same for all vehicles.

Even though most drivers use all-season tires on their cars, Roso said snow tires are still preferable if you’re driving in winter conditions.

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