Winter Driving Safety
There’s no denying the cold, and we have it for a good portion of our year. Winter also brings greater driving hazards. We want you to be prepared not only while you are driving but also in case you are ever in an accident or stuck in the cold.
1. Invest in Winter Tires – In Saskatchewan we see a lot of freeze and thaw and snow that falls whenever it feels like it. Winter tires are more equipped than all season tires to handle both cutting through the snow and gripping ice. Shorter stopping time can mean fewer accidents, and tires that can dig through snow can decrease your chance of getting stuck.
2. Defrost Your Windows – You will need to plan a little extra time to get to work in the winter. The drive will probably take you longer but you will also need to make sure your car is ready for the trip. Brush the snow off your car before you drive. When you speed up the snow flying off your vehicle can impair the visibility of those behind you. Also, you may save yourself time by not properly scraping or defrosting your windshield and windows but you increase your chances of an accident. Visibility can be challenging enough in our winters so take the extra minute or two to make sure you can see out of your car windows before you drive.
3. Be Visible – Factors such as fog, blowing snow, and low-light conditions can reduce visibility. Please make sure that your lights (headlights and taillights) are on in these situations. If the car behind you can’t see your vehicle until you suddenly brake – it may be too late for them to stop too.
4. Drive to Match Road Conditions – Not every winter day requires reduced speeds but on days with slippery conditions and blowing snow please factor stopping time and visibility into your speed selection.
5. Keep Your Fluids Topped Up – Slush, dirt, and Salt are likely to be thrown all over your car this season. Make sure your windshield fluid is always topped up to maintain a clear windshield. The freezing temperatures can cause problems with the condensation in your gas tank. It is not a good time of year to be sitting at or below ¼ tank. Also, if you are ever in an emergency situation you never want to run out of gas. It is often recommended not to go below half tank in the winter.
6. Keep an Emergency Kit in Each of Your Vehicles. You can either create one yourself or many stores have one you can pick up and add to as needed. Make sure this kit includes:
- Winter Gloves and Boots
- Blanket and Extra Clothing
- Reflective Clothing: to keep you visible while working outside your vehicle.
- First Aid Kit
- Paper Map (not just GPS)
- Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
- Flashlight and Batteries
- Battery Jumper Cables
- Bag of Sand, Salt, or Kitty Litter: for traction in snow.
- Non Perishable Snack Bars
- Waterproof Matches and Candles
7. Keep a Charged Cellphone with You. If you use your phone a lot throughout the day make sure you keep a charger in your car. It is important to be able to call for help if you ever need it, but remember you need to pull over and stop before you make a call.
ILSTV Daily News, "Top 10 Winter Driving Tips To Share"
Peter Kim, Global News, "How to correct common winter driving mistakes"