11 Winter Driving Tips to Keep you Safe on Ontario Roads
Each year, Ontarians alike begin to prepare both themselves and their vehicles to endure the roads during the winter. Navigating the roads during unpredictable and harsh conditions can be daunting. Here are 11 driving tips to help:
1. Create a ‘survival kit’
Your survival kit should include items such as: gloves, booster cables, small shovel, windshield wiper fluid, first aid kit, torch, snow brush, candles, safety vest, water bottles and non-perishable energy foods. Put the kit in the trunk of your car and store extra snacks or light winter accessories (gloves) in your console or glovebox for easy access.
2. Check weather and road conditions often
Choose the route you’ll take ahead of time and check the weather forecast to make sure you know what to expect before you hit the road. Google is your best friend, but now there are also many different apps to use such as Waze.
3. Keep a safe distance behind snow plows
If you find yourself behind a snow plow, maintain a safe distance. Snow plow drivers do not always have the best visibility and can create clouds of snow that can reduce your visibility, as well.
4. If you don’t already have them, get winter tires
They provide better traction, handling and braking and can shorten your braking distance by as much as 25%. All-season tires are not the same as winter tires. They lose their grip when the temperature dips below 7 C.
5. Slow down and give yourself extra travel time
This one might be obvious — but it’s important. Drive according to the road conditions around you and don’t rely on the estimated time of arrival your GPS gives you.
6. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle
Make sure you clean all windows, mirrors, lights and the roof. Wait for any foggy windows to clear up so your visibility isn’t poor.
7. Wear comfortable clothes
It’s a good idea to layer up in the winter time, but having too many layers can restrict your movement and make it difficult to check your blind spot.
8. Keep a full gas tank
It can help reduce moisture in the fuel system and also adds extra weight to your vehicle to slow it down.
9. Keep OPP numbers handy and travel with a fully-charged cellphone
The non-emergency number for the OPP is 1-888-310-1122. For provincial highway conditions, go to www.ontario.ca/511 or call 511.
10. Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads
It’s easy to lose control of your vehicle in bad weather if you rely on cruise control. If driving conditions are really bad, or in the event of a serious ice storm or blizzard — just avoid driving altogether.
11. Figure out the best way to recover from a skid for your vehicle
How your vehicle responds to a skid depends on whether or not it has rear wheel, front wheel or four wheel drive. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), learn how to use it correctly.
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