TRI-CITIES, Wash. — With colder weather on the horizon and potentially slick roads Thursday, drivers might find themselves and their passengers in a dangerous situation.
A 2016 WSDOT study found more than 60 percent of fatal and serious-injury crashes happened in city intersections.
Sol Driving School instructor Lorena Aranda says safe winter-driving is about preparing for other drivers.
"Knowledge is crucial," she said. "You may be going the appropriate speed but the other cars aren't so they have a stop all the sudden and they're going to go right into that intersection where your path of travel is, so you're going to have to slow down."
Aranda says her classes slow down in the winter because people are afraid to go out in bad weather.
"But what are they going to do when it does snow? I think it's really important especially for young, inexperienced drivers [to get] out there practicing and understanding," she said. "Why do we have so many collisions with people who have drivers licenses?"
The driving instructor says increasing your following-distance is important.
"When you're going to stop what does that look like? You want to see the back of the tires and a little bit of the road," she said. "You always want an escape."
Kennewick police Sgt. Aaron Clem says it's relatively easy to stay in control of your car if you're going an appropriate speed.
He says intersections don't sneak up on us, and drivers need to plan ahead.
"People get in a rush and on a slippery roadway their wheels just lock up they start to slide," he explained.
Clem says that's when he sees folks lose control.
"The wheels have to be turning in order to steer," he said, adding that the braking system also needs the wheels to be moving. "Give yourself enough time so that your wheels are always turning and you can brake properly."
"As much as we think we can multi-task, our brain can really only focus on one thing," Aranda explained. "If our goal is to get from destination-A to destination-B safely, we need to focus on that and only that."
Sol Driving School has a few tips for drivers finding themselves in a moving car without traction.