WINTER DRIVING In ONTARIO


Winter Driving

There are three important components to winter driving; a safe vehicle, emergency preparedness and knowing how behave and react to winter weather conditions. All three are necessary for safe, winter driving.

A Safe Winter Ready Vehicle

The following checklist will help you to get your car ready:

A tune up will assist in preventing winter mishaps. But in case a mishap does happen, having an emergency kit will make coping with one a lot easier.

Emergency Preparedness

Motorists should consider keeping the following items in their trunks.

Winter Driving

Winter collisions often happen when drivers are unaware of how to drive in and how to react to icy conditions. It’s important for drivers to know basic winter driving skills: the following tips, with practice, will help Canadian motorists to drive safely in the winter.

First and foremost, it is very important to adjust speed to match road conditions.

When driving in stormy weather, motorists should accelerate steer and brake smoothly. Abrupt braking, accelerating or cornering can cause skids.

Using cruise control in bad weather can also cause skids, as cruise control does not allow drivers to immediately reduce speed for slippery conditions. This can cause a wheel spin and throw a vehicle into a skid.

In the winter, motorists are often required to brake in order to avoid a collision. In the ideal situation, the motorist will have ample time to react. When motorists have a long distance before they have to stop, they should pump the brakes. This will give them the most control of what direction they go in.

If the stopping distance must be a little shorter, motorists can use threshold braking. Threshold braking is when a motorist applies the brakes just short of locking the wheels, releases the brakes, and brakes again a little less strongly. This gives the driver a shorter stopping distance than pumping the brakes, but less steering control

If a car must stop in a short distance, the driver will have no choice but to slam on the brakes. The wheels will lock and because there is little steering control, there is a good chance that the car will go into a skid. The driver should look and steer where they want the car to go.

ABS braking systems will automatically threshold brake when the brakes are slammed and allow easier steering.

It’s a good idea for drivers to practice braking and skid recovery techniques. Practicing in a large empty parking lot will assist motorists to develop the skill necessary to deal with situations on the roadway. Drivers should beware of shady spots, overpasses, bridges and intersections. Ice forms more quickly in these areas, making them treacherous for drivers who do not adjust their speeds.

In icy conditions, where there is a gravel shoulder, driving on the shoulder can provide increased traction.

If a driver backs into a snow bank, the driver should check that the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Such a blockage can cause carbon monoxide to leak in to the interior of the car and poison the driver.

Knowing how to drive and react in winter and installing winter tires can provide increased safety and peace of mind when travelling.