Winter Driving: Snakes, Lizards and ‘Butt Sniffers’

ADA, Mich. – Every winter storm seems to come with accidents, pile-ups, and slide offs. That’s why instructors at  Jungle Survival Driver’s Training in Ada are teaching their students to drive in the winter conditions long before they ever get a license.

“This is my first day ever driving with snow on the ground,” said 14-year-old student Tyler Lumica,  who is just days away from getting his learner’s permit.

Despite the snowy and icy conditions, he got a lesson on the road.

“Even though the speed limit is 50 miles per hour, I only want you doing 45 miles per hour,” said instructor Matthew Rand as they began their journey in the car.

Like all new drivers, Tyler was bit unsure of his actions.

As they drove through Lowell with some light snow,  Rand reminded his student of two of the winter driving basics: Slow down, and keep a distance between you and the other vehicles.

“It’s important to have that space in front in these conditions, because if you do hit brakes too hard and react too suddenly, the car behind us could rear end us, and that’s a big danger as well.”

If a driver starts to slide, he said, stay off the breaks.

“That’s the biggest thing, stay off the breaks,  you want to steer out of it,” he said. “The reason why you are going into a skid is because your tires start spinning.”

At Jungle Survival Driver’s Training,  the road is the jungle and the drivers are the animals, and not always friendly ones. Instructors teach students to stay away from the hyenas and wild dogs, the aggressive,  overconfident and sometimes dangerous drivers.

“Something takes over and they drive very emotionally like this guy just cut us off right here,” said Rand, as the driver in front of the them cuts them off and then turns.

The list of driving personalities is pretty entertaining.

  • Gators: The drivers who want to pull out into traffic from side streets and driveways.
  • Parrots: Drivers who are always on the cell phone.
  • Snakes: Constant lane changers.

The close followers?

“Butt sniffers, just a herd of wild animals like the cars behind us who are following right behind us and all they want to do is go fast,” explains Rand.

Instructors urge their students to drive like jungle cats.

“Because cats are the most stealth predator in the jungle,  they are aware of their surroundings and they anticipate the actions of other drivers and they are able to think ahead,” Rand said.

Like all beginners, Tyler Lumica is still learning.

“Go ahead and roll up, right turn here, right turn,” Rand tells him as he grabs his student’ wheel.

We could all use a refresher when it comes to ice and snow and the roads.

“People just forget how to drive,” said Rand.

For more information on Jungle Survival Driver’s Training, you can click here.

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