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Driving in whiteout conditions

Drivers and driving instructors share how they stay safe in whiteout conditions.

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 8:33 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - With a winter storm expecting to hit Thursday, even experienced winter drivers are sharing reminders on how to stay safe in whiteout conditions. 

"Hit your brakes early and just be cautious," Sierra Brandt, an experienced Midwest driver, said. 

She said she's once had a car in front of her almost slide into the next car in front of it. 

"He started going sideways, it was scary," she said. "You have to know how icy it is."

It's also important to keep some extra space between cars. 

"It's always important to maintain proper following distance," Alexi Paizis, lead driving instructor at Enhanced Driving Institute, said. "I've seen many close calls on driving lessons and one of the biggest problems I see is...tailgating other vehicles. Three seconds following distance is what we recommend."

He said he also commonly sees drivers sliding into stop signs and almost entering intersections.  He said if driving is avoidable in whiteout conditions, then avoid it. 

"It's not worth risking getting into an accident just to drive to the store," Paizis said. 

If driving is neccessary, he said to turn off the radio, avoid using high beams, and to drive slow. 

"Often times a speed limit itself is usually too fast for whiteout conditions," he said. 

If there's little to no visability, he said to pull over and put on the hazards. The hazards should only be on while driving if a driver is going significantly slower than the speed limit. 

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