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Taking Back Control From Slippery Winter Roads!

Driving in winter can be a challenge & staying in control is not easy. Meteorologist Michael Behrens says it's best to know how & when to react, before trouble hits!

LANSING, Mich. — As we head deeper into December the threats for icy and slippery road conditions in West Michigan are only going to rise. That’s why the Michigan State Police want you to be prepared.

Sergeant John Looney, with the Michigan State Police Precision Driving Unit, says the tips are simple to stay safe this winter season. 

Sgt. Looney told us "Time, distance, and speed reduction is what we want people to know. Plan more time for getting from point A to point B, because it's going to take you a lot longer to get there on the slippery roads."

He also said the most common reason for a loss of control in the winter is driving too fast for conditions. This may lead to an understeer or an oversteer skid. 

Credit: Evan Linnert
A MSP cruiser skids out of control on the skid pad at the Michigan State Police Drive Track in Lansing.

Sgt. Looney describes them below. 

"There's an understeer skid, that's when you try to turn the vehicle and the vehicle continues to travel in a straight line, or an oversteer skid, that's when the back end of the car comes around and wants to lead the vehicle. Get your feet off the brake, get your feet off the accelerator, and look and steer in the direction that you want to go."

Sgt. Looney says making sure your tires are prepared for the winter weather is another step you can take. You should check for proper inflation and a safe level of tread depth. 

He also added that some advice you may have heard in the past is not good advice anymore. Specifically about the need to pump your brakes when you lose traction. 

Sgt. Looney stated, "With ABS brakes the way the system is designed is once it gets into a situation that the tires start to skid or slide and lock up, the anti-lock braking system will start allowing the wheel to roll and then brake, roll and then brake. If you're feeling a pulsation in the brake pedal or a grinding, that's the ABS system working properly. We're just telling people stay in the brakes. Don't pump the brakes if you have ABS brakes."

When asked to summarize his advice for this winter, Sgt. Looney left us with the following. 

"Slow your vehicle down. It's going to take you a lot longer to stop and make sure you have that extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you."

Stay safe out there West Michigan!

-- Meteorologist Michael Behrens

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Email me at: MBehrens@13OnYourSide.com

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