Winter is coming. Are you prepared when you hit the road?
🎵 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year……” 🎵 Or something like that! As the snow starts to fly around the country, we thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone about tips for safe driving this winter. These winter driving tips are for all drivers. Whether you are driving a semi, or a Prius, we can all benefit by practising these behaviours.
Tip 1: Pack accordingly for winter
When planning your trip make sure that you have warm clothes in case an accident leaves you stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Some essentials are:
- jumper cables
- small tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers, wrench, pocketknife.
- a flashlight
- space or warm blanket
- first aid kit
- phone charger
- ice scraper
- candles and matches (light and heat)
- Water bottle
- Protein bars
- Duct tape
- Paper towel
Tip 2: Check your vehicle
Make sure that your windshield washer fluid is topped up. There is nothing worse than smeary windshield that leaves you peering through to try and see the road through the debris.
Do a check that all your lights are working. It is very dangerous to be driving in poor conditions with out your lights. Even in daylight, if snow is blowing, sometimes your lights are the only thing visible to other drivers.
Ensure that your tires are in good condition. Put on your winter tires- especially in Quebec where this is the law! In fact for 2019 Quebec has moved up their winter tire deadline to December 1st.
If you are travelling to areas that require tire chains, make sure that you have them packed to avoid down time. To find out where tire chains are required check out this blog Where Do You Need Tire Chains? It contains a complete listing for both the United States and Canada.
Tip 3: Be vigilant while driving
There are a few things you can keep an eye out for when driving
- Look for a reflection on the road- this may indicate black ice
- Give yourself lots of braking room. Remember it takes longer to brake in snow and ice!
- Easy on the gas pedal- fast acceleration can cause spin outs and loss of control. Same can happen during sudden gear changes.
- Steer into curves gently to avoid slipping, or jackknifing.
- And never use cruise control when conditions are less than optimal.
Bonus Tip: Braking distance for a tractor trailer on ice is 10x longer than it is on dry road. Give yourself a LOT of room! If you are driving beside a tractor trailer don’t cut in front of them as they will no longer have the necessary room to stop.
Tip 4: Clean and defrost your vehicle prior to driving.
Despite what some people may think- a credit card size hole scrapped into your windshield prior to leaving your driveway is not enough. Without clearing ALL of your windows, you leave too many blind spots for safe driving. No one wants to accidentally hit a pedestrian crossing the road simply because someone was too busy or too cold to do a proper job of clearing their windows.