What not to do while driving in winter weather, according to a metro expert

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – You might think you know how to hit the roads this time of year, but experts want you to take a minute to remember three basic winter weather driving tips.

Dan Backhaus spends his hours teaching teens how to drive at Liberty Driving School. During this time of year, he also has a refresher for adults, too.

Here are his top three things not to do behind the wheel:

Don’t slam on your brakes.

Backhaus said you should feel what your car is doing; use a balance of brakes and gas to regain control.

“Lay off the gas, the brake and the gas," he said. "You don’t want to slam on the brakes and start skidding.”

Don’t use cruise control. You need those extra minutes of reaction time.

“Once your car starts to do something that’s not typical, then you want to be able to react to it sooner," he said. "If you’re using cruise control, you might miss that moment.”

Double your distance.

“You have to have time, and you have to have space," Backhaus said. "If you don’t have time to brake and stop, you’re going to hit something.”

He said the general rule of thumb is give yourself 3 seconds of distance between your vehicle and the one in front you. During snow and ice, he said double that; give yourself 6 seconds.

The instructor said there is something you should do if you hit ice: turn the wheel the way you want your car to go.

“If your back end goes to the left, you’re going to turn that direction," Backhaus said. "If your back end goes to the right, you’re going to turn in that direction. It could be in a fishtail situation. It could go really, really fast.”

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