5 Winter Driving Tips for Canadians

When driving during winter, you need to take extra precautions to keep you, your passengers, and your vehicle safe. Here are the top 5 tips for safe winter driving.

1. Prepare your vehicle for winter.

You’ll need to equip your car properly for winter if you are to drive safely. Outfit your vehicle with winter tires, as these will help you get a better grip on icy roads. Also check if your tires are properly inflated by doing so when the tires are cold. Also make sure that other parts of your car, such as the battery, lights, brakes, windshield wipers, exhaust system, heating and cooling system, and ignition system are in good working order.

2. Practice the following driving techniques.

The best way to avoid accidents is to drive defensively. Drive slowly and avoid tailgating. If you drive too quickly, the chances of being involved in a collision increase, as it is harder to stop and control your car when the roads are slippery and icy. You should also drive smoothly, avoiding abrupt starts, stops, and turns, as these manoeuvres can cause you to lose control of your car.

3. Learn how to brake properly when driving under winter conditions.

When making a turn, it is best to brake so that your speed is reduced. This allows you better control of your car and prevents you from going into a skid. If you do get into a skid, here’s what to do. First, release the brake and take pressure off the gas pedal. Then push in the clutch (if you are driving a standard) or place the car in neutral (if you are driving an automatic). Look and steer in the direction that you need the car to go. Once you feel that the wheels of your vehicle have gripped the road properly, release the clutch (standard) or place the car in drive (automatic). Gently accelerate, then drive at a slow and safe speed.

4. Do not use cruise control.

Cruise control will cause your car to further accelerate if you hydroplane down an icy or slippery road. At increased speeds, you may lose control of your car and any collisions or accidents will become worse.

5. Keep all these tips in mind before winter sets in.

Prevention is really the best way to avoid accidents. Practice safe driving techniques before the roads get too slippery or conditions become too harsh. If you’re not used to these techniques, you might panic while driving during winter. It is best to get used to these techniques so that employing them will be second nature when driving under harsh conditions. It’s also best to get your car ready before the weather gets too bad, so that you’re always assured that everything you need to drive safely is already in your vehicle.

As a final note, always check the weather report before you head out. No matter how prepared you may be for winter driving, sometimes the best thing to do is to wait it out until conditions are better. Unless it is an emergency, it’s best to stay home during extreme weather conditions.

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