Staying safe: Winter weather driving tips - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Staying safe: Winter weather driving tips

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Dubuque (KWWL) -- It happens this time every year: Dozens of winter-related accidents, proving that even long-time Iowa drivers need a refresher on how to maneuver safely in the snow.

Kent Paca has been teaching winter driving for years and owns A Tri-State Driving school in Dubuque. He says preparation is key. The first tip is have an emergency kit.

"Jumper cables, blanket, flashlight, tool kit, used phone book so you have phone numbers, antifreeze, quarts of oil, water, and break fluid," Paca said. Paca says you should also have a fully-charged cell phone with emergency numbers programmed in.

Paca says you should always completely clear off your car before you get on the road.

"Take a little time in the morning or after you come out from work or school and scrape off your windows, let the defrost do it's job," Paca said. Also, make sure you clear your headlights.

Once you're inside, test out your windshield wipers to make sure they aren't frozen down.

Paca says you need to give yourself extra time for everything: go slower, break sooner, and signal earlier.

Don't accelerate too fast.

"If you start accelerating too fast, just let up off the accelerator when you hear it spin. If you hear the anti locks start kicking in, then that's when you need to let up off the breaks a little bit," Paca said.

If you don't have anti lock breaks, don't pump the breaks, let up on the breaks a little until you regain control.

Make sure you take turns carefully.

"When you're going to do your turns, turn on your turn signal earlier, and you start breaking sooner," Paca said.

If you start to skid, don't hit your breaks. Paca showed us a demonstration of how to control a skid.

"Alright, here we go. So, we're going to start going and all of a sudden we accelerate too fast, just let up, and keep your front end in front of the back, and don't break. Accept it gently so you don't put yourself in a bigger skid," Paca said.

That means if your back end skids to the right, turn the wheel to the right.

Paca says the most important thing is to pay attention to road conditions. If there's a lot of ice on the roads, he says your best bet is to stay home.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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