Credits to: Aleesha McMullin | Published on: November 29, 2023 | Economical Insurance | Edited: January 2024
At WAVE we strive to help you feel as comfortable as possible, no matter the weather conditions. We know that driving in uncertain winter weather can be overwhelming, check out these tips to help you for next time!
💡 WAVE Tip: Use a GPS app to help you monitor the changes in traffic along your drive. These apps also have functions to avoid highways and express ways to keep your route within your comfort zone!
Everyone enjoys walking in a winter wonderland now and then — but driving in the snow isn’t always as wonderful. Alongside topping up your windshield washer fluid and installing a set of winter tires, some slight adjustments in how you drive can help you stay safe on the road. Before you experience your first snowy road trip of the season, make sure you brush up on these tips to drive safely in the snow:
❄️ Be aware of road conditions. Before you get in the car, take a moment to check your province or territory’s 511 website, your news channel, or your local radio station for the latest road condition reports. Find out whether there are any accidents or weather-related hazards like black ice or blowing snow on your route. Once you get on the road, conditions can change quickly. Keep an eye out for shiny sections of the road, as this could mean the pavement is wet or icy. Snow squalls and blowing snow can reduce visibility within a matter of seconds, so always be cautious while out on the road for sudden changes in conditions.
❄️ Get your car ready for the road. Completely remove all snow from your vehicle, including the front and rear windshields and the roof. This’ll make it easier for you to see while you drive and will reduce the likelihood of snow blowing off your vehicle and blocking the view for other drivers. Turn your heater on high and wait until your car warms up completely before heading out to prevent ice from building up on your windshield and windows.
❄️ Pay attention to your car’s traction control and ABS (anti-lock braking system) This is an external link. If your vehicle has a traction control system and your tires start spinning due to slick road conditions, a small light shaped like a car with squiggly lines behind it will appear on your dashboard. Accelerate slowly and turn with caution to avoid skidding. ABS is another helpful system included in most modern vehicles. If your car starts to slide while you’re braking, the ABS will kick in and adjust the braking force of each wheel while still allowing you to steer. If you feel a rapid stuttering sensation in your brake pedal, your ABS has engaged because the road is slippery. It’s time to slow down, leave extra space, and brake with caution.
❄️ Keep your cool if you start to skid. When roads are slick or snowy, it’s best to accelerate slowly, reduce driving speed, and leave extra space between your car and the cars around you in case you start to slide. If you start to skid while braking or turning, stay calm and follow these steps:
If your front wheels lose traction, ease off the accelerator and gently steer in the direction you want to go without touching the gas or brake pedals
If your back wheels lose traction and you start to spin, ease off the accelerator and gently turn into the direction you’re sliding to help straighten out your car
❄️ Be strategic about hills. When going downhill, leave at least three car lengths of space between you and the car ahead of you in case you can’t stop as quickly as normal. When going uphill, avoid pressing the gas or brake pedal too firmly, as this can cause you to lose traction. Try to gather as much momentum as possible before going uphill and maintain a steady speed until you reach the top.
❄️ Always stay in control while driving. Try not to use cruise control or hands-free driver assistance systems when roads are slick, slushy, or snowy. It’s best to be completely aware of what’s going on all times so you can adjust your speed and direction if the road or weather conditions suddenly change.
Winter driving comes with a unique set of risks, and preparing ahead of time can take the stress out of your snowy road trips. Whether you’re travelling near or far, make sure your winter driving emergency kit is stocked and easily accessible to keep you safe and warm while on the road.
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