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Helena auto shops offer tips on driving in winter conditions - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Helena auto shops offer tips on driving in winter conditions

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The Helena Police Department has responded to around four dozen crashes since the start of the winter weather on Wednesday morning.

The sharp increase in fender benders is keeping area body shops busy.

According to Barry Reddick, owner of Collision Pro Auto Body Repair, many of the accidents involving the cars brought to his shop were caused by drivers braking too late and sliding into another car. 

"When you're braking, you don't brake like you used to years ago where you would pump the pedal," he said. "You just hold the pedal down and that will stop you faster."

Reddick said drivers need to adjust their driving habits to prevent slide-offs and rollovers when the weather gets colder and the snow starts falling.

"I like winter months and the roads can be more challenging in the winter and it can be colder," Reddick said. "It's just a different style of driving than in the summertime."

Jesse Vulk owns Helena Body and Paint and advises using caution even with four-wheel drive vehicles.

"You can get up to higher speeds because you can get around better, but you have to remember you have to stop as well so it's going to more difficult when you're on the slippery roads with your four-wheel drive," Vulk said.

The National Safety Council offers some advice on how to drive in wintry conditions including not using cruise control, accelerating and decelerating slowly, and increasing following distance to eight to ten seconds among other tips.

The National Safety Council also recommends keeping certain items in your vehicle at all times. Some of the items include a shovel, jumper cables, tow and tire chains, a bag of salt or cat litter, and a flashlight.

For additional information, visit the National Safety Council's website.

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