9 Winter Driving Tips All Canadians Should Know
As Canadians, we know what a real winter looks like. It means ice, snow, and dangerous winter driving conditions, especially in Ontario.
When the snow starts falling, the risk of accidents starts to increase. It’s important to follow the right winter driving tips to make sure you’re being cautious when driving in the snow or ice.
At Conte & Associates, we’ve seen what can happen when you’re not paying attention, or worse, when someone else isn’t paying attention. Don’t let accidents ruin your life.
Here are the most essential winter driving tips that every Canadian driver needs to know to stay safe this winter season.
1. Install Winter Tires on Your Car
The importance of winter tires is never something you should ignore.
Winter tires can shorten your braking distance as much as 25 percent. That’s a major difference if you’re driving on icy roads and need to stop suddenly.
Winter tires can be expensive, but the damage a winter car accident could cause isn’t worth saving the money. Take advantage of the Ontario winter tire discount- as of January of this year, the government requires any car insurance company to provide a discount if you have winter tires for your vehicle.
All-season tires won’t cut it, either. They lose their grip when the temperature drops below 7 degrees celsius.
2. Clear the Snow off Your Entire Car- Roof Included
So many people neglect clearing off their entire car. You’ve probably seen cars driving down the road with only enough brushed away from the windshield for the driver to see.
This is dangerous. It also makes you look lazy to other drivers who make the effort to clear their car.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can slack on snow clearing. You need full visibility in the winter. If you’re that cold, warm up your car while you brush it off so it’s toasty when you get inside.
Leaving snow on your roof can be a hazard to the cars around you, especially when you’re taking the highway. You may not realize it, but snow can fly into the windows of other cars, obstructing their view.
It only takes a second for an accident to happen, especially when you’re driving in the snow.
3. Create a Survival Kit
All drivers should keep a survival kit in the trunk for safety measures. This will keep you safe if you run into trouble on the road.
Some of the main items in your kit should include lock de-icer, a flashlight, road flares, a first aid kit, and a sign incase you need to get someone’s help.
This kit should also include a safety blanket, extra sleeping bag, or just a regular blanket. Keep this in your backseat instead of in the trunk so it doesn’t get too cold.
If you do get in an accident, or get stranded, this will keep you warm until help arrives. This is especially important when you’re driving in those rural areas of Ontario, where the roads are even more unpredictable.
4. Never Leave Your Gas Tank Low
There are several reasons to do this.
Firstly, if you ever find yourself stranded or stuck in a big traffic jam, you won’t run out of gas. Winter driving conditions can make your trip take a lot longer than you expected, since everyone is traveling much slower than in the summer.
Secondly, having a full gas tank makes your car heavier, which can keep it slower. This helps you stay grounded and steady when you drive on ice or snow.
It’s also a good idea to take your car for a tune-up and maintenance check before the snow starts falling. The better shape your car is in when winter hits, the more likely you can avoid accidents.
5. Don’t Use Cruise Control
Your car’s cruise control system is nice and convenient, but not when you’re driving on icy roads.
Using cruise control makes it too easy to lose control and cause an accident. The winter driving conditions require your focused attention and highest reaction time.
In addition, the technology that powers your cruise control can backfire on you. If it senses that you’re going slower, due to the resistance from the snow, it’ll feed more gas to your engine to force your car to accelerate.
6. Slow and Steady Keeps You Safe
Most Canadians who have been driving for a long time know that you have to drive slower in the winter. While this may seem common sense to most of us, some of us believe that because we have better cars that we can drive faster, pass people, and follow people too close.
This is not a good idea and can cause a serious accident. Regardless of what kind of car you’re driving, you should always drive with caution and slow down.
When you pull out onto a main street, don’t accelerate to the limit right away. Adjust for the conditions and feel them out before you start getting up to full speed.
Don’t accelerate too quickly, either. If you do this, you could spin out before you even get through the intersection. You could also get rear ended if the cars behind you aren’t paying attention.
It’s important to make sure you slow down when you turn. But you should also be slowing down a good distance before you need to stop to prevent sliding.
7. Keep a Safe Distance Behind Other Vehicles
Just because you know your car handles the snow and ice better, or you have winter tires, doesn’t mean other cars do.
You never know when the car in front of you is going to come to an unexpected stop. Be prepared by paying attention and giving yourself enough room to stop safely just in case the unexpected happens.
8. Watch Where You Park
Some cities in Ontario have bylaws that determine where you’re allowed to park during the winter. Sometimes you can’t park on certain sides of the street, and sometimes you can’t park overnight.
If you’re parked on the street and it snows, pay attention to city-wide announcements. You could risk getting towed if you’re on the street and the plows come out. That means extra hassle, payments, and fines.
Not only that, but if you’re on the road and a plow comes by, they could just plow around you. That causes a pile of snow you have to dig through to get your car.
Try to avoid leaving your car on the road altogether. If you really can’t avoid this, make sure you move it if it starts snowing.
9. If You Don’t Need to Go Anywhere, Don’t
We know that you have places to be. Canadians are busy and need to get to work, or to appointments or other engagements.
However, when the weather’s going to be really bad, consider staying in. Check the weather with enough time before you leave to decide if it’s worth it to endure the drive.
For Ontario weather conditions and updates, call 511 on your phone, visit the traveller information services website, or find them on twitter at @511Ontario.
You can also consider taking public transportation to your destination. This keeps your car safe from harm.
Conte & Associates Can Help With Winter Car Accidents in Ontario
Winter car accidents can happen to even the most prepared drivers. It’s not your fault when other drivers don’t take the necessary precautions in the winter.
When car accidents happen, get the compensation you deserve. At Conte & Associates, we are experienced personal injury lawyers who fight aggressively to get you that peace of mind.
Accidents can ruin your life, but we can change the outcome. Contact Conte & Associates today for your free consultation and start getting your life back on track.