Driving instructor offers tips for driving in snow

Our roads are ready for the snow, but drivers in the Triad may need to brush up before they tackle the roads this week.

Snowy roads will replace clear ones early Wednesday morning and many people are already making plans to avoid driving through the snow.

“Yeah no, I don’t really like to," Emily Bing said.

“I’ll stay at home," Nicholas Masalleras said.

Randy Wiles is a professional driver's education instructor and owns Wiles Driving School in Winston-Salem. He says if you can swing it, stay off the roads until they're clear.

“Don’t go out, and just try to be in and stay in as much as possible," he said.

You can also still prepare your car before the snow sets in. Make sure your windshield wipers are working before you take it out. Pack up your car with a scraper, emergency kit and kitty litter or salt to melt the snow if you get stuck.

Make sure your tires are ready for the snowy roads. You can test the tread on your tires using the "penny test." Take a penny with Abraham Lincoln's head facing down, and put it into the tire's grooves. If you can see the top of his head, you may need new tires. If he's at least halfway covered, Wiles says you're probably OKfor now.

Once you're on the road, remember to slow down and plan extra time for your commute. Never use cruise control when driving through ice or snow.

“When the speed limit says 55, on a snowy or icy day, you don’t drive 55," Wiles said.

Once the plows come through, they can still leave black ice behind.

“It’s a thin layer of ice that you really can’t see and it’s hidden by the blackness of the tar or the pavement. It’s sporadic on bridges, overpasses and places like that," Whiles said.

If you start to slide on the snow or ice, don't hit your brakes quickly. Wiles says that's how your wheels lock up, even if you have an anti-lock braking system.

“Always turn the car in the distance you want to go," Wiles said. "So if the car is going to the right, you want to turn the wheel to the left, not real drastically.”

Wiles says you also need to increase your following distance behind the cars in front of you. In good weather, you should drive two to three seconds behind another car. Wiles says you need to double that amount in inclement weather.

You can calculate the following distance by picking a stationary object along the road. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting until your car hits that spot. If you don't get to at least four to six seconds, Wiles says you need to leave more space.