When it comes to driver safety during the winter months, and ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Preparing your vehicle, and adjusting some of your habits, can be the difference between a safe arrival, and a spin-out on the road.
Here are our top 3 tips for a safe winter driving season:
1. Choose the right shoes – or tires, as the case may be
Many (if not most) vehicle owners are not aware that their “all-season tires” are not actually rated for driving in all seasons. Because of the composition of the rubber – harder, with less grip – “all-season” tires are really only rated for spring, summer and fall driving.
Made with softer rubber, and deeper treads, winter tires are a must for handling the harsh snow/sleet/ice conditions of our Canadian winters. For a great comparison and explanation of the differences between the types of tires, check out this helpful article by Kal Tire.
2. Take it off – the snow and ice, that is
We’ve all seen it. You are barreling down the highway and suddenly a huge chunk of snow or ice comes flying off the car ahead of you. White-knuckles and a steady hand are required to navigate that mess, and the worst thing about this situation is that it is completely avoidable.
It is important to take the time to clean off your own hood properly, or you could end up with windshield full of snow, and completely impaired visibility. But wiping off your vehicle is a safety issue not just for you, but for other drivers on the road. If your headlights aren’t clearly visible, or if you are throwing off chunks of ice and snow, you are creating a hazardous situation for other drivers.
3. Make some space
No matter what the season, it is always important to leave enough room between you and the vehicle ahead of you. During the winter months, however, this is even more relevant.
It is critical that you are paying attention to the road conditions before you get behind the wheel, as this will significantly influence how quickly and safely you can slow down or stop. If you happen to hit a car in front, you will run the risk of incurring a charge of following too close.
If convicted of following too close, 4 demerit points go on your record. Worse yet, if convicted of careless driving, 6 demerit points are applied. Any way you look at it, these charges are bad news for your driving record, and bad news for your insurance premiums as well. Click here to learn more about demerit points in Ontario.
Take the time to get prepared for the challenges that winter driving brings, because like it or not, the snow is going to fly… so be ready!