After a deadly weekend on the roads, troopers remind us how to drive on ice


The winter weather has only just arrived but already the number of serious accidents seen on Minnesota's roads are a reminder of just how treacherous conditions can get.

And as people who see more cars skid, slide and crash than most, Minnesota State Patrol troopers have taken to the ice to highlight safe winter driving tips.

With temperatures now well below freezing and most of the state under snow, there has been a spike in the number of accidents. This past weekend alone, six people were killed on Minnesota's icy roads, according to KARE 11.

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Troopers demonstrated driving techniques on a "skid pad" to both WCCO and KSTP at the Emergency Managament Training Center at Camp Ripley, near Brainerd, this week.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson told WCCO that reducing the risk of being involved in an accident is simple: when the road is icy and slippery, drive slower and increase the distance between you and the car in front.

Sudden movements can also lead to a skid, WCCO says, so drivers should look to avoid sharp movements that could cause the car to fishtail.

Sometimes getting into trouble is unavoidable, and Sgt. Ruben Marichalar advised KSTP that if their car begins to slide, drivers should ease off the gas and try to stay off the brakes to avoid locking up their tires, which helps them retain control of their car.

When skidding, Sgt. Marichalar said drivers should steer in the direction they want the car to go, "look at the road, not into a ditch, because where your eyes go your car will follow".

It should go without saying that drivers should minimize distractions by not using their phone while driving on ice or snow-covered roads, with driver inattention causing 21.8 percent of multiple vehicle crashes in 2013, according to Minnesotans for Safer Driving.

More winter driving tips from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety can be found here.

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