Brace Yourselves… Winter is coming!
Winter in Ontario often seems to go on forever, and it comes with more than just a slight drop in temperature and light dusting of snow. It also means dangerous driving conditions and unsafe roads for the ill-prepared. And so, we must be proactive in order to get ourselves (and our cars) ready before that first snowfall comes! Here’s a list of things you can do to help keep yourself, your family, your vehicle, and the roads safe this winter season:
1. Make sure your tires are mounted on all four wheels – and that they have PLENTY of tread
2. Keep a winter survival kit in the trunk in case you get stuck in the snow. Work gloves, a snow brush, a collapsible shovel and sand (to use as traction) could all come in handy.
3. Always clear snow and ice from your vehicle before heading on to the road. Warm your car up with the defroster on full power and brush the snow (don’t forget the roof!) and scrape ice from windows and lights.
4. Remember when braking on ice to allow for more distance than when braking on dry ground in order to come to a safe stop – you always want to avoid having to slam on the brakes. If it is an emergency and your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes then press and hold down on the pedal firmly. In a vehicle without ABS it might be necessary to pump the brakes in order to prevent the wheels from locking.
5. Allow your vehicle to do one thing at a time…the snow and ice can reduce your tires’ grip on the road when you’re trying to turn and brake at the same time. Be cautious and apply the brakes before rounding any corners.
6. Since it is harder to control your vehicle in the elements of a Canadian winter try to avoid any sudden movements! Slamming on the gas pedal, abruptly stopping and/or shifting gears can all contribute to a loss of control. Pretend there’s a hot drink in your lap and you don’t want to spill it!
7. Sliding on ice can be one of the scariest parts of winter driving – it can lead to a moment of panic in which you forget what to do. Remain calm. Turn your wheel to gently go with the direction of the slide. Don’t over correct and do NOT hit the brakes and you should be able to glide back in to your place on the road.
8. Traction control is great for winter driving! However, if you’re headed up a snowy hill it might be beneficial to turn this feature off for the climb – the wheels will spin but the vehicle will be able to maintain its momentum.
Plan ahead! When the road conditions aren’t looking great give yourself extra driving time to get where you need to be. Drive safely and have a wonderful winter season!