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Keller @ Large: The Basics Of Safe Winter Driving

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(Photo credit ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Unless you are a new arrival from San Diego with zero understanding of where you were moving to, you knew that, sooner or later, you would find yourself driving to work in this familiar New England combination of snow, sleet, slush, rain, ice and frozen lemonade.

And unless you are that clueless out-of-towner, chances are you expected some of the horrible bad-weather driving on display Monday.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

There’s a reason why the day after the first snowstorm is the most dangerous day of the year to be on the road. For too many of us, it is too much to expect proper preparation for driving in this stuff, or the ability to recall how to do it from last year’s snowfest.

So as a public service, before we get any further along, let’s review some of the basics of safe winter driving.

Does it come as a surprise that the most common cause of winter-driving accidents is speed?

I have always believed that drivers who speed in the snow believe that the quicker they get to where they’re going, or the more snowflakes they are able to dodge on the way, the safer they will be.

There are many adjectives available to describe this kind of thinking, but “smart” isn’t one of them.

Another major problem is tailgating, which also appears to double as Greater Boston’s number one automotive sport year-round.

This becomes problematic when the roads are slick, because guess what? It’s harder for your car to stop on a slippery road than on a dry one.

In fact, experts recommend that for every 10 miles per hour of speed, you should be keeping four car lengths between yourself and the car in front of you.

So if you’re doing 30 mph in the frozen lemonade, you should have at least 12 car lengths of space ahead of you.

That’s a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, since the only time I ever see cars spaced that far apart around here is if I’m driving somewhere at three in the morning.

All you really need to know about bad-weather driving is to use common sense.

Then again, you have to have it to use it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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