It’s that time of year again! Canadians in many parts of the country are already getting huge amounts of snowfall. Slick roads are leaving drivers no choice but to navigate their way through awkward driving conditions. It’s certainly a season that requires extra caution and proper preparation before daily commutes. Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has also taken steps to communicate helpful tips to help drivers plan ahead and stay alert during the winter months. You can check out and download their awesome guide here!
By now, it should be pretty obvious that winter and summer driving are completely different. Winter driving is far riskier and poses more challenges to drivers. As a driver, you can’t take the same approach in icy and snowy conditions as you would when the temperature is much milder. At Precision Kaster Auto one of our goals is to keep drivers informed – so here are our top driving tips to keep you safe this winter.
Keep your eyes on the weather
Tip number one is to check the weather forecast ahead of all your trips. Don’t make assumptions, checking the weather beforehand is one of the best ways to plan ahead, avoid dangerous routes and have a clear idea of what the conditions are like before hitting the road. There really is no better way to guarantee safety than making sure you avoid slick, snow-covered roads whenever possible.
Check your tires
One of the most important steps you should take is to install winter tires on your vehicle to match the wintery conditions you’ll be driving in regularly. Winter tires carry an advantage in colder conditions because they have treading and compounds that perform great at low temperatures. Also, if you haven’t already, read our post on “All season vs Seasonal tires” to help you choose the right winter tires for your vehicle.
Remove ice & snow from your vehicle
Alright, this one’s fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of drivers that hit the road without properly clearing the snow off their vehicles. After heavy snowfall, make sure to brush your mirrors, windshield, windows and lights. This will ensure that your vehicle isn’t a hazard to you and other drivers on the road. Visibility is crucial, it’s already challenging enough to drive on light snow days and nights, so avoid making it more difficult by completing the steps listed in this tip.
Drive at slow speeds
Drive at slow speeds at all times when the roads get slick and slippery. Doing this reduces the likelihood of accidents rive at a safe speed. The faster you drive the less likely you are to react properly to danger, you can also become a danger to other drivers on the road. Remember to leave enough distance between yourself and the vehicle(s) ahead of you. In especially poor weather conditions, be sure to look around to see what’s ahead, beside and behind you so that you have enough time to manoeuvre in risky situations.
Carry emergency items at all times
Winters in Canada can be very unpredictable. That’s why it’s very important to be prepared for the roads because anything can happen. Precipitation may become worse, visibility may decrease and the likelihood of multiple vehicle collisions increases. With these things in mind, it’s vital to have a fully charged phone (or carry a charger), flares, flashlight, ice scraper, booster cable and a shovel – there are many more items that can go on this list, but start with the basics first. Also remember to dress warm just in case you get stuck out in the cold at any point. If you’re the type that easily forgets things, leave spare clothing items in the trunk, this way they will be readily available in emergency situations.
Arguably the most important tip of the lot, don’t panic. If you ever get caught in tricky situations stay calm, breathe and be alert. If your vehicle starts to slide in the snow, don’t slam the brakes or the gas, instead, steer the vehicle gradually in the direction you want it to go. Once you’re out of the way and in a safe spot, wait in the vehicle, stay warm and wait for help. Staying calm and keeping your eyes on the road in this situation will give you the greatest chance of recovering from a skid.
The internet is loaded with winter driving advice now that we’re in season. In addition to what we’ve provided in this post, make sure you find other tips and resources to help you stay safe on the roads during the slippery months. Canada Safety Council recently celebrated National Safe Driving Week from December 1-7 with a campaign outlining the importance of preparation for winter driving. The campaign also lists, similar to the tips recommended in this post, suggestions for drivers to adjust their driving habits. Some of their suggestions include yielding the right-of-way to snowplows, being patient, and getting your vehicle read for the season.
In addition to yourself, don’t forget to pay the same attention to your passengers when it comes to safe driving during the winter months. If you commute with passengers on a regular basis, make sure that their seatbelts are properly buckled and that they’re fully aware of safety precautions to take in case of emergencies. Furthermore, don’t forget to make sure your car is inspected by your automotive technician so that it runs smoothly throughout the winter season. The last thing you want is to have brake, engine or transmission issues at this time of year. There’s nothing worse than having car issues that could’ve been easily avoided before winter came along. Read our previous post to learn more about the importance of regular vehicle inspections and see how this practice can keep your car on the road longer.
Finally, be attentive to the fact that every vehicle is made differently, and as such they handle differently. Don’t do things on the road that you wouldn’t normally do in much milder temperatures.