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Winter driving school helps drivers gain confidence

November 23, 2010

HOUGHTON - It could be easy to lose control of a motor vehicle on a blustery winter day, so for the last 12 years or so, the Keweenaw Research Center has been offering the winter driving school to help drivers build confidence.

Just after the holidays, the winter driving school returns to the Copper Country, offering confidence-building strategies to anyone who wants to improve their winter driving abilities.

"We teach proper braking techniques and how to control skids," said Mark Osborne, driving instructor and program manager at the KRC. "A lot of people say they learn a lot about braking and handling."

The winter driving school usually features a test course covered in snow and for the one-day class, the instructor will take the students out on the course for one-on-one training. Vehicles are provided with varying drivetrains to expose the driver to different driving conditions, he said, and the overall focus is to learn cornering, control, braking, emergency response, accident avoidance and skid control.

"We start in the morning with a video of all the things we are going to talk about," Osborne said. "We work our way to basic things, like safety belts and headlights."

The instructor also discuss anti-lock brakes and their proper use.

"Then, we practice braking for a couple of hours," he said.

The students learn panic braking and also learn how to drive around an obstacle, he said.

"We discussed over-steering and if you spin out like a donut," Osborne said.

The school is open to the general public and everyone with a driver's license.

"If someone has a driver's permit and they can drive on the road with a parent, they can take the class as well as long as they have a parent," he said.

A one-day safe winter driving course is $150 per person. For a two-day winter rally, performance or evaluator school the pricing depends on class size.

For more information, fill out the request form, or call KRC at 487-2750.

Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at skukkonen@



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