NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – With all the multi-car pileups and slippery roads after all this snow, what should you do to keep yourself safe on the roads? We got advice from the experts.
“When you’re driving down the road and something happens suddenly in front of you, you really want to hit the brakes, pause and steer,” says Kevin Stromski who teaches crash prevention for In Control in North Andover.
It can happen in a split second, and how you respond makes all the difference in an emergency. “A lot of time, people don’t hit the brakes hard enough,” says Stromski.
How hard should you hit those brakes if you’re skidding or have to stop fast in this nasty weather? “The ideal way to hit the brakes is fast and hard,” he says. And stay on the brake. Don’t let up. That’s if you have ABS, anti-lock brakes, and most cars do.
When you hit them hard you’ll hear a disturbing racket. “It’s a terrible, vibrating, pulsating sound that sounds like there’s something wrong with your vehicle,” says Stromski. But it really means it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, pumping your brakes faster than you ever could. And that means you have a chance of controlling your car.
“Minimal steering. You want to make sure you don’t over correct with that steering wheel because that’s really how you can start to lose control,” says Stromski. And one more thing. “The best thing you can do for yourself is get a set of winter tires,” he says.
And he did a test for us, driving a car outfitted with snow tires and another with all season tires. He drove at about 35 miles per hour and hit the brakes. “The braking distance for the vehicle with all season tires was twice as long as the vehicle with snow tires,” says Stromski
Of course keeping your speed down and leaving extra room between yourself and the next car will also make a big difference.