Driving can be daunting during the winter months; slippery roads, black ice, snow and slush can cause great frustration and anxiety for a driver. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds you to be prepared this season with their Top 10 Winter Driving Survival Tips to help make your winter driving experience a little easier on the nerves.
- Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Give yourself extra time for travel and, if weather is bad, wait for conditions to improve.
- If you must drive in bad weather, think caution, plan ahead and make sure you have enough fuel. See and be seen. Clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all windows of fog before hitting the road. Top up windshield wiper fluid and make sure wipers are in good shape.
- Proper braking is essential. Increase your following distance; focus your attention as far ahead as possible. Don’t slam on the breaks. Know that winter tires have been proven to increase traction in winter driving conditions.
- Remember that not all vehicles respond in the same way to icy, slippery roads. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle's braking system and tire traction. If your car is skidding decelerate by taking your foot off the brake, step on the clutch or shift to neutral then look where you want your vehicle to go and steer in that direction.
- If you are trapped in a storm or snow bank, don’t panic. Avoid overexertion and exposure and stay in your car. Run your motor sparingly. Keep fresh air in your car. Keep moving and don’t fall asleep. Keep watch for traffic or searchers.
- Try to keep to the main roads and drive with caution, measuring your speed to road and weather conditions. Avoid passing another vehicle, if possible, when weather and road conditions are bad.
- Plan your route and let someone know which way you'll be travelling, your destination and expected arrival time, especially when driving long distances.
- Drive sober and avoid driver distractions.
- Keep an Emergency Car Kit in the trunk or your vehicle. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged in case of emergency.
- Always keep a road map, flashlight, first-aid kit, blanket and shovel in your vehicle.
Visit the IBC website for more information on winter driving tips.
Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada