Experts urge extreme caution for Memphians driving in winter weather

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With freezing temperatures and a wintry mix expected to hit the Mid-South overnight, experts are preaching caution for anyone who has to get behind the wheel.

Waking up early can be a pain, and nobody likes to drive extra slow, but experts said that extra bit of caution could be the difference in a major accident.

It doesn’t take much snow and ice to wash away safe driving conditions in the Mid-South.

With temperatures expected to drop into the 20s overnight and precipitation in the area, experts ask drivers to budget more time for their commute and preach cautious driving.

“Keep your distance, that’s the main thing,” said Max Maxwell, owner of Maxwell Motorsports. “Slow down, keep your distance, pay attention to the pavement.”

One of the biggest dangers when driving in a wintry mix involves sliding or skidding on the slick roads. Maxwell let WREG’s Peter Fleischer hop into a skid car that imitates what it’s like driving across ice or snow. The back tires totally lose control.

Drivers can prevent their cars from spinning out, but it involves easing off the brakes and steering wheel.

“Just take your feet off the controls,” Maxwell said. “Look where you need to go, not where the car is going. Because the car may be going this way, and you need to go that way. You’ve got to look where you need to go. The hands are going to follow the eyes.”

The City of Memphis said its first priority during the winter weather is to treat major roads with an incline or decline and any bridges or overpasses — meaning side streets and neighborhoods won’t get treated overnight.

Experts said allotting double your normal commute time is the safest way to drive safely in winter weather.

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