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Tips to Stay Safe While Driving in Winter

So how do you drive more safely in the winter? Here are some top tips to help

  • Keep a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. In the summer, your vehicle might be able to stop on a dime but in the winter, your vehicle takes much longer to stop as ice and snow reduce the friction of pavement. It gets even worse around intersections. By maintaining a greater stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, you give yourself room to stop if the road is icy
  • Ease out at every intersection. All intersections get icy in the winter. In many jurisdictions, snow plows push snow onto the corners to clear it off the roads. So visibility is dramatically reduced. Slowly ease out of each corner and listen for vehicles as you go
  • When you hit an icy patch, steer into the skid. This is one of those lessons that every Canadian is taught but it’s so easy and instinctive to forget. When driving (and especially when turning) your back tires can start to slide around to one side or the other. When this happens, turn into the skid to correct
  • Carry a snow shovel and some other kind of gripping device (like a towel, a board, or snow chains) to help you get unstuck if you become stuck
  • Carry an emergency kit that includes candles and a blanket. If you have to travel outside of the city, let people know when you are leaving and what route you are taking so they can watch for you
  • Make sure you thoroughly scrape the snow off of all of your windows so you can see clearly out of all them. Avoid the temptation to scrape away only the ice so you can peer out a small hole in the front of your vehicle
  • After a snowfall, clean off your vehicle completely so that your headlights and taillights aren’t blocked by snow, and so that you don’t blind drivers behind you as snow blows off of your roof
  • Slow down. Vehicles take longer to stop and visibility is dramatically reduced by snow banks and snow glare, so driving a little more slowly gives you more distance to react to whatever is in front of you

In Canada, each season presents its own unique challenges. Safe drivers recognize how these challenges change and they change their driving styles to accommodate. This winter, remember that being a safe driver means being a safe WINTER driver.