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News Archive for January, 2012

Winter Driving Tips

As we know in Canada, winter can be one of the most difficult and unpredictable driving seasons. However if one stays alert,
slows down and remains in control– you’ll be sure to get where you need to go, safely.

Before Hitting the Road

  • Make sure your vehicle is ready. Take it in for a tune-up before the snow is here to stay.
  • Install four winter tires; do not mix-and-match with your summer or all-seasons. A good rule of thumb is to put your snow tires on when the temperature drops to 7° C.
  • Be prepared for an emergency.
  • Wear clothing, or have clothing in the car available, that is appropriate for the weather outside the car not inside the car (including foot and headwear.) While driving, your clothing should not hinder your movement and should be comfortable.
  • Plan your route. Be familiar with the maps/directions to avoid confusion and check the weather reports before you leave. Let others know you’re travelling plans including when you’re leaving and when you’ll arrive.
  • Always clear the ice and snow from your vehicle. Pay special attention to your windows, lights, mirrors, hood and the roof.
  • Be sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid. It’s also a good idea to keep some extra fluid in the car in case you run out.

On the Road

  • Buckle up, remember it’s the law.
  • Check the weather and travel conditions before heading out, and drive according to those conditions. In the winter, allow yourself extra time for travel so you get to where you want to be in time.
  • Bring your cell phone with you as it can be very useful in case of an emergency, but remember to pull over to the side of the road first. Winter driving demands your full attention.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full. Keeping the gas tank full will prevent your gas line freezing, not to mention making sure you’ve got the fuel to get where you need to go.
  • Reduce your speed and do everything gently, especially when turning, accelerating or stopping.
  • Keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you because it takes longer to stop in the winter. What makes a safe distance? Under normal driving conditions, safe spacing can be determined with the two-second rule. In winter, and especially in bad weather, double the two-second rule. This means, a 4-second interval from the time the car in front of you passes a fixed object until you reach the same object.
  • When conditions are wintery, don’t use cruise control. Winter conditions require you to be in full control of the vehicle at all times.
  • Shaded areas, like bridges and overpasses, have a tendency to freeze sooner and stay frozen longer. Keep this in mind when approaching. Also, watch out for black ice as it can cause your vehicle to suddenly lose traction.
  • Losing traction can result in skidding off the road. To avoid losing traction, do everything slowly. Always try to gently turn, gently accelerate and gently brake.
  • If you start to skid, look where you want the vehicle to go and steer in that direction but be careful not to oversteer.