DUNCAN, OK - (KSWO) – Not all of us have the luxury of staying home during winter weather, but one driving instructor in Duncan says there are several things you can do to make your winter commute much safer.
"The number one safety factor is the 6 inches between your ears," said Charles Murdock, co-owner of Ace Driving Academy. "You have to be smart enough to realize it is inclement weather, whether it's sleet or snow or freezing rain or ice on the roads. You've got to be smart enough to reduce your speed, be careful, don't be in a hurry and try to take care of yourself and everyone around you as well."
Murdock said you should also not follow too closely to other drivers and should leave yourself plenty of time to stop at intersections.
"A wet road, it will take you almost twice the distance to stop as it does a dry road. Then you add the factor of ice on top of that, you're probably looking at 4, 5, 6 times the length of distance that you need to stop slowing down farther back to make sure you can get stopped at that intersection," Murdock said.
If you do happen to hit a patch of ice and your car starts to skid, Murdock said you should remain calm and remember one simple thing.
"Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid, not away from it," Murdock said. "Normally, people want to feel like if the rear end of their car goes out to the right they want to turn it to the left but that's the worst thing they can do. That just exacerbates the spin and you'll really go into a tailspin."
Murdock said the best thing you can do when winter weather hits is stay home. Even if you are as careful as possible, he said you may still find yourself in a bad situation.
"You may be driving carefully and taking care of business and doing what you need to do and some other guy may come through there going 50 or 60 miles per hour thinking he can do it," Murdock said. "Then maybe he can't stop and causes you to get involved in an accident. It takes a combination of a little luck, you've got to watch what people around you are doing, you've got to be heads up, you've got to use your mirror and know what's going on behind you as well as in front of you."
Murdock said if you're going to be driving in snow, slush or ice, make sure you are prepared for the worst. Have a blanket and bottled water on hand so you can stay warm and hydrated if you get stuck.