Safe winter driving is smart winter driving
With winter coming, SGI reminds all motorists that driving conditions change with the weather.
"It's important for motorists to drive with more care and caution during the winter months," said Shannon Ell, SGI's Manager of Traffic Safety Promotion. "Road conditions constantly change, which means adjusting our driving habits."
During slippery road conditions it is critical to reduce your speed and keep a safe driving distance between the vehicle ahead of you. This allows for room to brake or maneuver your vehicle safely should a situation arise in front of you.
Other basic winter driving tips include:
- Braking or accelerating too hard on icy roads can cause you to skid and lose control. Always apply gentle consistent pressure to your brakes instead of slamming them, as they will lock causing you to slide. Always look where you want to go and steer that way. Keep in mind that if you slow down and drive cautiously, you may avoid skidding altogether.
- Brake normally if you have an anti-lock braking system, (ABS), on our vehicle. ABS allows you to maintain control of your vehicle by preventing your wheels from locking and skidding while braking on slippery services.
- Remove all snow and ice from your windows. Don't start driving until your windshield is completely defrosted. Remember to clear snow from your headlights and taillights so other motorists can see them.
- Avoid collisions by not using your cruise control in slippery, snowy driving conditions. When roads are icy or wet, you need full control of your vehicle and be able to adjust your speed as needed. Using cruise control could cause your vehicle to slip or slide and you may lose control.
- Winter weather means time for a tune-up. This should include a complete check of the engine, brakes, fluid levels, battery, lights and tires.
- One of the biggest winter driving risks is the possibility of being in a whiteout. A whiteout occurs when the sky, horizon and ground blend together, making it very difficult to determine where you are on the road. Before heading out, check weather and highway conditions. If there is a chance of bad weather, consider postponing your trip.
An emergency kit in your vehicle should contain warm clothes, a shovel, blankets, matches, a candle and a tin cup (to melt snow for water), food like chocolate, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts or soup mixes than can be added to water, a snow brush, ice scraper, booster cables, flashlight and flares.
"In addition to practising safe driving tips, having a well-stocked roadside emergency kit could save your life," said Ell.
No matter what season it is, every driver and passenger should always wear a seatbelt, avoid driver fatigue as well as refrain from habits that cause distracted driving like using a hand-held cellphone, eating or grooming themselves, and never drink and drive.