Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

Driving requires all the care and caution possible any time of year. But winter driving has even greater challenges because of wet and icy road surfaces, longer hours of darkness and poor visibility because of snow, rain and fog. There are steps drivers can take to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a collision during winter weather:

1. The first starts before even getting into the car. Brush the snow from all of the windows, side mirrors, headlights and tail lights. Do not clear a small area on the front windshield and then start driving. It’s also important to clear the snow from the hood and the roof. If you don’t, it may blow off on the road and create hazardous conditions for anyone travelling behind.

2. Allow enough time to get to your destination. Rushing in difficult driving conditions can lead to an accident. Leave a few minutes earlier in the morning, and allow plenty of time to get to work. Buckle up your seat belt or safety restraint before you start driving.

3. Stay calm. Sometimes other drivers will become frustrated with slow-moving traffic. Keep your temper and don’t let other drivers aggravate you. Maintain a safe speed and drive defensively.

4. Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles. If the roads are slippery, it’ll take more time and distance to stop. So slow down. It’s important to leave a safe amount of distance between vehicles, especially on the highway. Then in the event of an emergency stop, there will be more time to do so.

5. Never use cruise control in adverse weather conditions – when tires slip, the cruise control may respond by accelerating.

6. Keep your car well-maintained and in good working order. This includes having good tread on your tires, the engine tuned-up for winter, and all lights functioning properly. Travel with your gas tank close to full – your vehicle may be your only heat source in the event of getting stuck or stranded.

7. If you become stuck or stranded:
• Remain calm
• Do not attempt to walk for help in a snowstorm – stay with your vehicle
• Place emergency lights and flares around your vehicle
• If you can’t dig your way out, shovel snow from around your tailpipe and return to your vehicle
• Run the engine for about ten minutes every hour to keep warm. Make sure a window is open (choose a window opposite from the wind)
• Put on warm clothing right away. Don’t wait to get cold to put on extra clothes, socks and toques
• Do simple stretches to increase circulation and maintain warmth
• Keep an eye out for rescuers

Regardless of your driving skill or vehicle preparation, there are some winter conditions that can’t be conquered. Follow these steps to ensure safe winter driving.