In time for the coming snowfall:
As the fall rolls into winter, the temperature drops, the snow falls and the ice settles, there is one thing that ALL Canadians have to be ready for every winter – driving in winter conditions. Driving in winter conditions brings unique challenges that need to be met, for your safety and other drivers. As we head into the winter season and the roads become slippery and icy it is important you, and your car, are ready! Always remember: if you can avoid driving in winter conditions, which is your safest bet but if you have to drive BE PREPARED. Most importantly NEVER ASSUME your vehicle can handle ALL conditions. Here are some tips for you to get ready for driving in winter:
Make sure your car is ready and that you have a “winter emergency kit” ready. Your car needs to be ready for the winter conditions so make sure your washer fluid is topped off, your windshield wipers work and that the car is maintained. During the winter you should have a kit in case of any emergencies. Things you can include in your emergency kit: a flashlight, a blanket, water bottles, energy bars, extra washer fluid, jumper cables, a tire inflation product, a snowbrush/ice scraper, hand and foot warmers, and a small or folding shovel. If you have children or more people in the car, pack additional items for them as well.
2. Keep Visibility Clear
It is important for you to keep your visibility clear, and to make sure others can see you as well. Make sure you clear snow and ice off your windows before driving. If your windows become foggy, make sure you use your defrosters to clear the fog. Finally turn on all your lights – this will make it easier for your to see what is ahead of you, and will make you more visible to other drivers!
3. Adjust Your Driving
Winter conditions mean you have to adjust your driving habits. Reduce your speed and increase your distance from other cars. This will give you more room in case something happens ahead of you. When breaking, break gently and “pump” the breaks to avoid the bakes from locking. Finally drive smoothly. Try not to accelerate to fast, or break to sudden as this may cause you to skid, spin, or lose traction. Adjusting driving habits to the weather conditions will help you keep control of your car and allow you to react to any situation you come across.
4. Careful in Certain Areas
Be extra aware and careful in certain areas. These areas include bridges, overpasses and roads that are infrequently traveled, as these areas tend to snow and ice up more than regularly travelled roads.
5. When You Skid
If you do find yourself in a skid, keep calm and try to regain control. DON’T slam the breaks or the gas. This will cause you to lose more control. Instead, take your foot of the break and gas and then use the steering wheel to regain control and steer yourself into safety. Remember to keep calm!
6. Winter Tires
Winter tires are a great investment if you are going to do a lot of winter driving. Winter tires perform better than all-season tires or summer tires by providing more grip on ice and snow and maintain grip in extreme cold temperatures. You can see how significant a difference there is between tires on this YouTube video here. If you know you are going to be doing a lot of driving this winter, winter tires are a great investment!
Remember, winter conditions mean that our roads will be more slippery, wet and icy than during other times of year. As a result, it is important that you adjust your driving habits and be extra cautious. You can find more useful information on winter driving the Government of Ontario’s website. The Government of Ontario also has a useful site where you can view winter road conditions. Remember to be prepared this winter on the road, and stay safe!
By Kevin Lopes Mosaic Home Care Services Inc