Winter driving techniques to stay safe - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Winter driving techniques to stay safe

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You've been told to stay off the roads Thursday night, but if you have to travel, FOX28 tracked down an expert with some driving tips to keep you safe.

John Rastetter from Tire Rack is an expert when it comes to winter driving. The company has a test track in South Bend where tires are put to the test in handling Michiana's most severe conditions. Rastetter took FOX28's Faran Fronczak for a test drive on Thursday.

When it comes to winter driving, Rastetter says you have to think about time, speed, distance, and tire traction. Even though the road looks plowed and partially clear, what you often don't realize is that you're driving on snow and ice, and that's where the driver and tires make all the difference. If you step on the gas when turning, or making a sudden stop, your car will spin out.

Rastetter says SUV's have it the worst, "SUV's are often time the first vehicles in the ditch along the Bypass. When it comes time to break or stop or corner, SUV's don't have any tires to help it stop compared to a regular car," he says.
    
So minding your speed, keeping a distance from cars in front of you... and always steering in the direction you want to go sums up Rastetter's winter driving lesson.

Tire Rack says drivers also need to be aware of one more thing -- your tires.

Rastetter says whether you're using winter tires or all season tires, you have to check the depth of your tire treads. If there's too much wear on your tires, you could be putting yourself in some serious danger. Rastetter says, "As tires wear, they continue to only be able to offer less and less winter time traction. Which can make it very challenging in the 3rd and 4th year of driving."

Coupled with the snow is also the drop in temperature, and that brings out a drop in tire pressure. So make sure your tires have enough air before you hit the road.

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