Driving instructor gives tips for driving in wintery conditions - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Driving instructor gives tips for driving in wintery conditions

Cynthia Mendenhall shows how to drive when temperatures drop (Source: Amy Lipman) Cynthia Mendenhall shows how to drive when temperatures drop (Source: Amy Lipman)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - If you’re thinking about driving around this weekend, the roads could be extra slippery.

“In treacherous weather, especially most serious accidents become multiple accidents,” said Cynthia Mendenhall, a driving instructor at Trussell Driving School. “It’s not just one car that hits another. That’s when you start hearing about 20, 30-car pileups.”

Mendenhall’s first piece of advice as a driving instructor is to avoid driving during wintery weather.

“Sometimes the safest way to drive in snow and ice is to not drive at all and to just stay home,” she said.

However, if you do need to drive somewhere, safety starts before you even get in the car.

“It’s very dangerous to be driving with limitation,” Mendenhall said. “So sometimes winter coats are a little too bulky and they’ll limit us in our steering. Scarves or big hats can limit us in our ability to check blind spots so we definitely want to be taking off anything big and bulky.”

Mendenhall recommends taking off fuzzy gloves, and instead, wearing no gloves of wearing leather gloves with tread or driving gloves.

Once you start driving, driving slower than normal will keep you and those around you safer. Mendenhall said most serious accidents happen around 45 miles per hour.

Increasing the driving distance from the usual three seconds from the car in front of you is also helpful.

“The reason is if this guy hits his brake, we want to do everything we can to keep from hitting our brakes,” Mendenhall said. “So the more we increase that speed or that distance between us, the better chance we have of not needing to hit our brakes just because he panics and hits his.”

If you do end up hitting a patch of ice, don’t hit the brakes, don’t over correct and, also, don’t panic.

Steer the wheel the same direction as the back of the car.

“The rear right side of my car is going to fling out, so I’ve got to correct by bringing it back,” Mendenhall said. “I’m turning in the direction the car is spinning out.”

Be aware overpasses and bridges tend to become icy faster.

If you’re not up for all of the extra rules of the road during winter weather, you still have another option.

“Regardless of your expertise, it’s nearly impossible to drive on solid ice,” Mendenhall said. “That’s when you’re better off staying home and staying in. take an ice day. Enjoy something at home rather than going out and being at risk and making everyone else at risk as well.”

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