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Officers patrol for weather-related car accidents

(WSAZ)
Published: Jan. 16, 2018 at 6:32 PM EST
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Officers are out on the roads all across our region responding to accidents and offering their help during this winter storm.

WSAZ rode along with West Virginia State Police Tuesday. Patrolling main roads and back roads, Cpl. R. L. Walton who broke down the biggest mistakes drivers make and what people can do to avoid an accident.

We'll break his advice down into three P's you can remember: Prepare, Protect, and

don't

Panic.

Before you even think about pushing the gas pedal, Walton says you should prepare by clearing the snow off of any windows, cameras and license plates on your vehicle.

"I've seen people driving around with snow covering everything," Walton said. "So that's basically not being prepared and being probably in a rush when they left the house."

To protect yourself on the road, make sure there's plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Also, give yourself plenty of time to stop.

Using the pedals as little as possible and just coasting at a safe speed will help, too.

"Watch how you accelerate and decelerate," Walton said. "If you're going at a slower speed, you can coast and make adjustments."

Sometimes those adjustments will turn into split-second decisions. That's when Walton says staying calm can be your key to avoiding a crash.

"Don't panic if you start to skid or you start to fishtail," Walton said. "A lot of times you want to slam on the breaks which will cause you to slide even more."

Instead, he says you should turn towards the skid. Then gently tap the breaks, release, tap the breaks, release, etc. until you have control again

However, Walton says the best way to stay safe is by staying home and avoiding the risk in the first place.

"I would suggest you stay home unless it's important, unless you have to go to work or it's necessary that you leave," Walton said.

Troopers say it doesn't matter if you have 4-wheel drive or think you're great at driving in the snow. Everyone should follow these tips, they say, or run the risk of hurting themselves or someone else.

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