Tips for safe driving on icy road conditions

Tips for safe driving on slick roads
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A driving instructor explains the best way to handle a vehicle on slippery road conditions

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Driving the streets of Houston can be very tricky any day, but especially when you run into cold rain, sleet or ice. We went behind the wheel with Brad Coleman, a race car driver-turned-driving instructor to get a lesson in winter driving.

Coleman teaches teen drivers the rules of the road at Safeway Driving School in west Houston, but he also has personal experience driving on ice and teaching others to do so, as well.

His first tip -- make sure you are looking down the road, in the direction you want your car to travel.

"What I want you to do is look out of the window for the next cone, because where your eyes go, your car goes," he explained.

This is especially important when driving on slippery surfaces to keep from over-correcting if you wind up losing traction.

"It's just like hydroplaning. You know in Houston, we are used to driving in the water, any time you hydroplane, you don't want to step on the gas, you don't want to step on the brake... it's the same on the ice, just keep calm," he said.

Coleman says there are a few regular driving habits you should adjust when driving on icy roads, like adding to the "space cushion" around your vehicle.

"Keep at least three to five seconds of space between you and the car in front of you, and if it's raining or if it's ice, you want to at least double that," he advised.

He also reminds drivers that larger, heavier cars will take longer to slow down. "SUVs are much heavier than little cars, so it's going to take them much longer to stop or slow down if something happens."

Most importantly, Coleman advises drivers to buckle up and stay off the road if at all possible.