Auto engineer provides tips for driving in winter weather

National News

(ABC) – While we didn’t have snow this Christmas in the Tri-State, it won’t be long until winter weather returns.

Icy conditions are already causing trouble and black ice is especially dangerous.

In Milford, Michigan, at the GM Proving Ground, they use state-of-the-art tiles to simulate icy road conditions like invisible black ice, snow, and slush.

Essentially, it’s a runway to put vehicles through the worst winter weather has to offer.

Chevrolet engineer Josh Stidham said some scary spinouts likely occur in older cars without antilock brakes or electronic stability control.

Driving at 30mph without those systems, if you slam the brakes while on black ice, you will slide no matter how you try to steer.

If you’re on the road see black ice, you can drive across with very light throttle inputs and very slight steering inputs.

When you do need to turn, take your time and perform the following actions:

-While still in a straight line, gently press on the brake to slow down
-Once at a safe speed, release the brake and make your turn
-Once the wheel is straight again, that’s when you accelerate
-Steering combine with braking or accelerating increases your chances of losing control

If you can’t avoid a fishtail, you want to steer calmly in the direction you want to go.

“So basically, if the rear of the vehicle is moving to the right, you want to steer to the right,” said Stidham.

Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are systems now required on all cars and most trucks and SUV’s built after 2012.

However, Stidham said that no system is foolproof.

His number one tip for all drivers is a simple one: “If conditions are inclement out there, slow down.”

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(This story was originally published on December 26, 2019)

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