Winters can be so much fun, until it comes to driving. Snow. Slush. Sleet. Expect to face all that, and more, as you navigate the wet and white roads.
Whether you’re an experienced driver or facing slippery conditions for the first time, these dos and don’ts of winter driving will help. And they can stack the safety odds in your favour, helping you reach your destinations safely and on time, with less stress.
Here’s what to do
• Get a pre-winter tune up. Road conditions can turn icy and slick early. Check that your battery, brakes and other essential systems are ready for winter driving before it arrives. That includes replacing wiper blades, which can leave streaks and affect your visibility.
• Switch to winter tires. Maintain better traction on icy roads by switching to winter tires. While they can be a bit pricy, they’re still cheaper than an accident deductible. Plus, some insurers offer a discount on your auto plan if you use winter tires.
• Carry refills and safety tools. Always carry an extra jug of de-icer windshield washer fluid – which can prevent you from waiting or walking in cold conditions. And always pack a scraper, a lightweight shovel and an emergency bag with blankets, heat packs, snacks and a first-aid kit.
• Insure your recreational vehicles. If you’re an ATVer or snowmobiler, make sure that you are properly insured. It’s simple and affordable to secure coverage that makes for happy and safer trails.
Here’s what not to do
• Don’t drive a snow- or ice-covered vehicle. Before you get behind the wheel, always clear snow and ice from your hood, windows and roof to give yourself – and other drivers – an unobstructed view. And don’t forget to clear off your license plate.
• Don’t warm your vehicle by idling. With freezing temperatures, a pre-travel vehicle warm-up might seem like a great idea. But that leaves it extremely vulnerable to auto theft – instances of which are steadily increasing across the country. Bearing the discomfort of cold can save hassle, expenses and the environment.
• Don’t travel in extreme conditions. The safest way to travel in extreme conditions is not to travel at all. That holiday feast? That ski or hotel getaway? That kids’ tournament? Put safety first by delaying or postponing your plans when a storm is in the forecast.
Find more year-round driving safety tips at cooperators.ca.
— News Canada