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Winter driving: Tips from MSP on how to handle the road

13 ON YOUR SIDE's Shanna Grove was live in Walker with an MSP trooper to walk viewers through the steps when driving on the ice.

WALKER, Mich. — Even the slightest bit of ice on the roads can make for treacherous driving conditions -- and this weekend, there's some wild weather headed for West Michigan, parts of which could see up to an inch of ice. 

13 ON YOUR SIDE's Shanna Grove was live in Walker Friday morning ahead of the impending winter storm with Sgt. John Looney of the Michigan State Police Precision Driving Team. 

Sgt. Looney shared some tips on how to "steer into the skid" and other ways to stay safe on the roads. 

Be prepared

Sgt. Looney suggests making sure that your vehicle is ready to get on the road (if you have to travel at all). 

  • General maintenance -- check your tires, brakes and air pressure before winter strikes. 
  • Clear off any ice or snow that may impair your vision while driving. 
  • Clear off any snow on the top of your car, it runs the risk of sliding off and creating a very dangerous driving situation. 
  • Stock your vehicle with blankets, food and water. 
  • Don't forget your phone when leaving the house -- and make sure it's charged.

Stay calm

Sgt. Looney says that if you do happen to hit a patch of ice or slick snow -- STAY CALM. Panicking can make the situation worse, and cause you to lose focus on regaining control.

Skid recovery

Keep both hands on the wheel and focus, Sgt. Looney continues. That is critical to regaining control of your vehicle when you start to skid. Looney says there are two kinds of skid situations and he's got tips for how to handle both.

Under Steer: If you go to turn and your car continues to slide forward, let off the break, unwind the steering wheel so your tires can regain grip on the road. 

Over Steer:  When the back portion of your vehicle starts to fishtail. For example, if your vehicle starts to fishtail to the right Sgt. Looney says you'll want to counter-steer to the right with "quick hand-over-hand steering movements" to catch the skid and slow down. As the back end of your vehicle settles behind you, it's important to unwind the steering wheel at the same rate to avoid a secondary skid.

BIGGEST THING TO REMEMBER! Don't use the accelerate and don't use the break. Look and steer in the direction you want to go.


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