Are you ready for winter driving? Experts have tips to help

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – For most of this so-called “winter,” the roads have been clear of snow and ice, but that is about to change. News8 went to some experts for advice on how to prepare and what to do if you have to drive in a big storm.

North Haven Auto Body is still dealing with all the extra business from last Tuesday’s snow. “Snowstorms always bring us a lot more work volume because everybody decides to collide at once,” said owner Bob McSherry. “Obviously with a slow snow winter, people’s driving skills aren’t as sharp in the snow.”

Some places did see an inch or two last week, and it was a mess cars piled up in major accidents on several highways.

“The first plowable snow is usually a big accident day out on the roads,” said Ken Forsythe, an instructor at The Next Street Driving School‘s Hamden office.

Forsythe also spent years as a Hamden police officer. He says there are two important things to remember for winter weather driving.

“Decrease speed, increase following distance,” Forsythe said. “If you can just remember those two things alone in that type of weather, it’s going to help you.”

If you do find yourself losing control on snowy roads, don’t panic.

“You want to maintain the steering on the vehicle,” said Forsythe. “Stay off the brake, then go back gently to the brake.”

Your car will end up someplace like North Haven Auto Body if you follow too closely, go too fast, or think that none of this advice matters because you have a 4 wheel drive car.

“Four wheel drive does not mean four wheel stop, so with all the all wheel drive cars, we tend to get quite a few cars in here for all intents and purposes going faster than they should have,” McSherry said.

The Red Cross recommends you keep the following essentials in your car for a snowstorm:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Cell Phone Car Charger
  • Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
  • Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf
  • Flares
  • Folding Shovel
  • Sand or Cat Litter
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Small battery-operated radio
  • Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
  • Extra prescription medications
  • Bottled Water
  • High protein snacks
  • Maps
  • Whistle

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