GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - There have been several major crashes due to the weather over the past few days and many of them could have been avoided.
WZZM 13's Sarah Sell went on a ride-along with a driving instructor who teaches teen drivers the rules of the road.
Lauren Peters, 15, is learning the basics of winter driving. Her instructor, Kevin Raymond of Main Street Driving starts the lesson by cleaning the snow off the windows and taillights. He says you should be able to see out the window and people should be able to see you. Only then, is it safe to drive.
Raymond takes us to a parking lot, where he says you should get to know your brakes. Are they standard or anti-lock? With anti-lock, you can feel and hear the pulsing. If you need to stop suddenly, you're supposed to stay on the pedal.
"But if you have standard and you step on it hard and it goes into a skid, you should control the brake pressure and back off the brake."
You should also avoid over-steering. "If you go into a skid, we have to make sure we're turning the wheels in the direction we want car to go."
You should also avoid following too closely: Raymond says in slippery conditions you should "triple" the distance between you and the car in front of you. "So, now, instead of three car lengths, now we're nine car lengths back, instead of three."
Here are three important tips to remember: Be visible, turn your headlights on and make sure your brake lights can be seen.
Control your speed: That means slow down if conditions are bad.
Give yourself space: That way you can stop suddenly without hitting the person in front of you.
And regardless of how experienced you are, by following the basics, the roads will be a little safer for everyone.