Driving instructor offers tips to be safe driving in winter weather

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - With freezing rain and freezing drizzle possible for the first time this season Friday night and Saturday morning, VDOt is urging people to stay off the roads if possible.

If you do have to drive, there are some tips that could help keep you safe.

"Do not slam on the brakes," Safe Driving School of the Piedmont Owner Ricky Fugate emphasizes.

Fugate says that is the first thing to remember if you're driving on potentially ice-covered roads and especially if you hit ice and start to slip and slide.

"Everybody from AAA on down says if you get into a skid, look and steer in the direction you want to go," said Fugate. "Because nine times out of ten, where you're looking is where you're going to go."

Another important tip is to pay attention to the spray coming off the tires of the cars in front of you.

"When that turns and goes away and you know there was moisture out there, you might want to start looking because you have turned into solid black ice," Fugate explained.

Those WSLS spoke to Friday say when ice is in the forecast they follow the state's advice.

"Try to stay off the road as much as possible," Robert Harris said.

If they do have to drive and they hit ice, they say they know what to do.

"Stay off the brake as much as possible. Maybe take a slower speed," said Harris.

But Fugate says even though many people know what to do, more often than not they forget in the moment and hit their brakes anyway.

"If you get into ice, remember you've got to reduce your speed at least fifty percent. That's according to AAA," Fugate pointed out. "You've got to remember, you're not only responsible for yourself but everybody else around you, too."

In Danville Friday, the public works department was out spreading brine in an effort to prevent ice from building up on the roads.

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