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Sask. Safety Council, SGI, host winter driving course

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The Saskatchewan Safety Council teamed up with SGI to host safe winter driving courses in Regina.

The “Skid Smart” course focuses on stopping distances on the ice, avoiding collisions and controlling a skid.

“(Winter) happens every year so being able to drive in the winter time, which could be three, four, or five months in saskatchewan, is a very important skill to have for all drivers,” Al Gall, traffic safety specialist, said.

Driving instructors coach participants on how to navigate icy and snowy road conditions while the students drive through a course.

The course is covered in ice, but surrounded by snow banks and open space, creating a safe and controlled environment.

Gall said the participants will try a stopping and steering exercise once at a slow speed so they can see how the car skids or slides, then again at a higher speed to compare the difference.

“An extra five km/h, their vehicles are sliding an extra 50 to 75 feet sometimes,” Gall added.

According to the Saskatchewan Safety Council, the most common mistake people make, and the first in the winter is slamming on their breaks while steering to avoid a collision.

“If something comes out at you from a side street or somebody steps out from between parked cars, you (should) steer the vehicle, get it in a straight line and then start applying the breaks,” Gall said. “If you apply the breaks while it’s in a turn, that’s when most people lose the back end of the vehicle and it will start to spin and slide out of control.”

Participats who are new to winter driving conditions told CTV News they were nervous to hit the road before starting this course.

“In Vietnam there is no winter so it was easy for me to drive, but when I (came) to Canada with winter, it’s very difficult for me to drive on the road,” Vin Mii, participant, said.

Benson Akinbami, who moved to Regina from the United Kingdom in August, said he didn’t know how to drive in the snow because they don’t get as much.

Both agreed that after a few runs on the course and instructions from the coaches, they felt more comfortable navigating winter.

“I feel a little bit more confident driving in winter conditions and I can’t over emphasize the fact that everybody needs a little bit of this get better on the road,” Akinbami said.

The “Skid Smart” course runs through January and February, and is open to anyone with a valid drivers license.

Registration information can be found on the Saskatchewan Safety Council’s website. (https://www.sasksafety.org/)

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