Ugh, that is usually the first thought when it comes to winter driving on Ontario roads. Who could blame you? Accidents happen often enough throughout the year, no one wants the increased stress of winter conditions and unpredictable weather to add to their daily travel.
Icy roads, drifting or heavy snow all become even worse to contend with when a whiteout occurs, we understand the frustration and the fright. For many drivers, winter driving can be an absolute horrid thought that keeps them indoors and off the roads at times.
If you are one of the braves who decides to venture into the thick of winter driving, we offer some tips to help ensure that you arrive home safely at the end of your day.
INSTALL WINTER TIRES
If you have not yet made the purchase, we highly recommend you consider purchasing winter tires. Aside from an insurance discount, the safety benefits alone are a good reason! Improved traction, handling and braking will all help to improve the drive as well as shorten your braking distance when you need to stop quickly. And in case it needs saying, all season tires do not offer the same safety features of a winter tire.
DRIVE ACCORDING TO CONDITIONS
We know that you have probably heard this many times over, but slowing down will help to ensure a safer drive. Leave extra time for your commute to avoid feeling rushed in poor weather conditions. This also requires that you leave a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead for braking when necessary.
CLEAN YOUR CAR
Before getting in the car, take a few moments to ensure that all snow or ice has been cleared from windows, mirrors, and rooftop of your vehicle. Visibility is essential and anything that deters from it can be detrimental to your travel. Be sure that you can see clearly out each direction before heading out, never drive while trying to wipe your foggy windshield which has not yet cleared.
MAINTAIN A FULL TANK OF GAS
Not only a good idea because of the additional weight it can add to your vehicle, but also keeping anything less than a full tank of gas leaves your vehicle susceptible to moisture in the tank and fuel lines.
Checking weather forecasts not only the night before but also before you leave will let you know what to expect on your drive. Avoid areas or roadways which can become more treacherous in poor weather.
Not only means to drive safe but prepare yourself and your vehicle for the travel. We recommend to always carry a cell phone for emergency use (make sure it is fully charged when you head out, and consider keeping an extra charging cord in your vehicles just in case the battery dies), as well as keeping a safety kit in every automobile you own or operate. Your kit should include gloves and hat, booster cables, a small shovel, windshield wiper fluid, a warm blanket, flashlight, and a snow brush. Of course, you can include other items which you feel may come in handy.
MAKE GOOD DECISIONS
You can never control how someone else may drive in winter conditions, so be alert and avoid any distractions along the way. If travel becomes too risky and just not safe, pull over and take shelter to allow time for weather conditions to improve or for roads to be plowed or if travel is not essential, avoid driving when weather alerts warn of extreme conditions or blizzards.
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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