It doesn't matter how excellent or safe of a winter driver someone claims to be. Once your vehicle starts to skid, fear can take over and mistakes can be made.
That's why the folks over at Master Drive are sharing some winter driving tips as snowy weather gets underway.
Their first piece of advice is to stay at home if you can avoid driving all together. However, they understand that's not a luxury everyone can afford.
If you must hit the road, understand that your vehicle can skid on any surface, be it ice, slush, packed snow or rain.
Master Drive urges folks to do the obvious -- slow down and give yourself space between the vehicle in front of you.
Second, make sure you are mentally prepared for the weather outside, and don't panic. That's when drivers make mistakes.
“If we can't control our state of mind we really shouldn't be put on the road," said Roger Lohmeyer, a driving instructor or 'head coach' with Master Drive in Colorado Springs. "Stay calm, stay relaxed, stay in that performance state.”
But what happens when your wheels spin out and you lose control?
Lohmeyer says drivers need to keep those wheels rolling, and don't slam on the brakes.
“Look where you want to go, and steer in that direction. Don’t squeeze on the gas and don’t squeeze on the brakes. We need the wheels to be able to roll in order for us to steer out of that," said Lohmeyer. "We need all the available traction to go towards steering, and so if I am taking that away by braking or accelerating then I’m just making it harder to control the car.”
Another tip is to take your sweet time and expect to reach destinations a little later than usual.
Lastly, one of the best things you can do as a driver is to get winter tires. That bit of extra traction can be the difference between drifting and a clean stop.
Master Drive does provide classes for any driver looking to improve their skills in these winter conditions. They're called skid camps.
"Confidence in driving in these conditions comes from skills," said Lohmeyer. "The more you train those winter driving skills the more confidence you are going to get."