RIDE ALONG: How drivers should prepare for traveling on winter roads

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 11:16 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - When it comes to what to prepare for when driving this holiday season, who to show us better than one who teaches kids the ropes.

READ MORE: Tips for those traveling during winter storm

Wednesday, I took a drive with Howard Ester, a driving instructor at Driving Academy. He’s taught drivers education to kids for more than 30 years.

His best advice for winter driving?

“Take your time,” Ester said. “Pay attention ahead. Keep your eyes moving. Watch everything out to the side, looking as far ahead as you can possibly see, and be ready to react to any dangers.”

Howard knows a thing or two about driving in wintry weather, which sometimes involves not driving at all.

“We’ve canceled all our drives for Friday, and this guy’s going to be home,” Ester said. “I’m not leaving my house.”

But, if you have to drive, remember this:

“The roads are going to be a solid glare of ice; I’m going to assume,” Ester said. “So, you just have to slow way down at least 10 miles an hour below the speed limit. You have to stop further away or start stopping slower away. You have to turn slower, and you have to start slower.”

An important question when driving on snow and ice: ‘what do I do if I start to go into a slide?’

“You definitely don’t slam on the brake; cause then now you’re going to be doing donuts somewhere,” Ester said. “Turning the wheel, you turn it slightly in the direction you want to go, just like you’re making a short turn. Don’t crank it hard, cause then again, now you’re doing 360s in the road. Once the back end gets to where the front end should be, it’s not good.”

Ester wants you to pay attention to the other drives and the mistakes they make on the road, which is key to defensive driving.

There’s a lot to think of while driving this time of year, and it may be stressful. But, Ester has one last piece of advice for you.

“Look ahead and don’t panic,” Ester said. “React to everyone else. I don’t know if that’s a good motto but those are things we’re just constantly teaching.”