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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Motorists urged to take precautions

Friday, January 18, 2002

(Photo)
Rob Neal, Plaza Tire Service assistant manager, installs new wiper blades on a vehicle.
SIKESTON -- January is here and with it has come snow and hazardous driving conditions.

When the roads do become slick, it is important to remember a few safety tips.

"The first thing is to slow down," said Joe Sebourn, captain of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety. "Make sure you allow more room between yourself and the car in front of you.

"If you are pulling out on the street, make sure there is plenty of room for you to pull out," Sebourn said. "You have to remember that it will take longer for you to pull onto the street and if you are slow and get caught pulling out, the other driver won't be able to stop."

Most winter accidents on slick roads occur when a vehicle is traveling too fast, has to stop and skids. However, accidents like these can be avoided by not only going slow, but also anticipating lane changes, turns and curves; slowing down in advance and making smooth, precise movements of the steering wheel.

If your vehicle does start to skid, the first important thing to remember is not to panic. To regain your control of the vehicle, take your foot off the brake or accelerator. If you have a manual transmission de-clutch, or shift to neutral on a car with automatic transmission. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go and as the rear-wheels stop skidding to the right or left, counter-steer until you are going in the desired direction. If you drive a rear-wheel drive vehicle though, if you over-correct the first skid, be prepared for a rear-wheel skid in the opposite direction.

Once the vehicle is straight, then gently apply pressure on the accelerator to ensure another skid does not occur.

"Just make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get where you are going," Sebourn emphasized.

Sebourn said there are important things to do before you even get on the road to be safe, including making sure your car is in good shape before dangerous winter weather strikes

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Doing things like recharging or replacing weak batteries, checking brakes and tires can prevent a driver from being stranded during winter weather.

Sebourn also said to make sure to clear all snow from your windows and lights. Also try to get all snow off of the top of the vehicle so it does not blow on to vehicles behind you.

Once on the road stay to the main roads and if the going gets tough, be smart and turn back.

It is also beneficial to take a shovel and some sand, salt or kitty litter, just in case you do get stuck. A warning light or road flares and some extra clothing might also help if you get stranded.