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Car Crashes and Winter Driving Questions: Ask a Patch Pro

How dangerous are winter roads?

Sunday's snowstorm served as a reminder that winter in Minnesota frequently means car crashes.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the foul weather . In some ways, those numbers are yet more proof that winter-weather driving can prove difficult.

For this week's Patch Pro, we've lined up someone who can answer all your questions about winter driving safety, and winter car repairs.

Jeff Matt is the owner and founder of Fridley's Victory Auto Service & Glass, a local, award-winning auto repair business with five locations in the Twin Cities. Jeff is also an ASE Certified Master Technician with more than 20 years of automotive experience.

In 2011, Jeff received an Eleven Who Care award from KARE 11 for his charitable work with Free to Be, a local nonprofit providing donated vehicles and free and discounted auto services to individuals in need in Anoka County. Victory Auto was also honored with a 2010 Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau, its Fridley location was named a AAA 2011 Top Shop, and it received a Super Service Award in 2012 from Angie’s List.

Send forth all your burning questions in the comments section, and Matt will do his best to reply.

Carbon Bigfuut January 30, 2013 at 11:40 PM
There's no rule as to which lane gets plowed (not ploughed) first. You want to be in the least slippery lane, but be prepared to move to the right if a faster car comes up behind you.
Topher January 31, 2013 at 02:09 AM
I know when driving behind a snowplow, drivers need to leave a gap, but what should a person do if they find themselves in front of a plow? Don’t the plows need to move at a certain speed in order to propel the snow off the road?
Jeff Matt January 31, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Hi Nikki! I did a little research to see if there was specific protocol from MN Dept. of Transportation that addresses your question, I didn't find any. My advice would be to stay in the the furthest right lane, however in the major snow storms there is often times only one lane that vehicles travel in thus making it the easiest to navigate and drive in, I would definitely suggest staying in that lane. I did find a great page on MN DOT's website that has many useful winter driving tips as well as tips for navigating with snow plow trucks. Here is the link: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/workzone/ Thanks for the question!
Jeff Matt January 31, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Hi Topher, This is another great question. Typically the snow plows are driving much slower(intentionally) than typical traffic moves along so being ahead of the plow in and of itself isn't likely an issue like it would be if it were a police, fire or rescue vehicle however if you feel that you are having a difficult time staying AHEAD of a plow vehicle then I would recommend that you exit the highway allowing them to get ahead of you and re-enter the highway. Thanks for the question!
matt lehman February 01, 2013 at 01:01 AM
As a 25 year ASE tech specializing in abs systems, lets get a better understanding of the operation. Isolation valve, dump valve, accumulator, speed sensors. The speed sensors tell the computer the speed of the wheels, the isolation valve isolates individual wheels so no more brake pressure can go to that wheel, the dump valve releases pressure if the wheel is still slowing to fast or locking up. 4x4 is awesome in winter, you can go through a lot more then 2 wheel drive however, once you lose traction it really doesn't matter 2 or 4 wheel drive. As for traction in winter, nothing beats tire studs on snow pack and ice. Caution, tire studs are illegal in Minnesota because they tear up the roads. Safety? 15 years Nascar racing proves seatbelts do save injury. I set of 4 point belts and a helmet and remember, before impact, hands off steering wheel, feet off floor, let the belts do their job. :)

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