How to Drive Safely in Winter Weather Conditions: Tips for New and Experienced Drivers

Mar 22, 2021 | Beginner Driving Tips

Driving during the winter can be challenging. There are a lot of factors you need to be cautious of. Black ice and slippery roads can be dangerous if you are not equipped with the proper driving knowledge and skills. Here are a few tips to help you be better prepared for driving in harsh winter weather conditions.

Winter Driving Tips:

When driving in harsh winter weather conditions it is always better to be prepared for any road obstacle. Black ice and snow are huge factors in road accidents and collisions. Accident rates in Canada increase by 3.1% – 4.7% during the winter months. To help decrease the number of accidents, it is important to follow these safe driving tips.

1. Reduce Speed

It is important to always be aware of your surroundings while driving. This is especially the case in the winter. It is important to watch out for ice and slippery road conditions while behind the wheel. It can take up to 10 times longer to brake on ice and snow than on normal road conditions. By reducing your speed, you will have better control of your vehicle if a skid occurs while driving. Reducing your speed will help you navigate through icy and harsh winter conditions. You will have better control over your vehicle and be able to come to a complete stop easier.

2. Maintain Space

It takes longer for vehicles to slow down in winter weather conditions. Due to this, it is important to leave space between yourself and other vehicles. Driving on icy roads can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Leaving space between vehicles can help you to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the road.

3. Prepare your Vehicle for Harsh Weather Conditions

To make sure you are prepared for icy and slippery road conditions, be sure to check if your vehicle is equipped for the winter weather.

  • Tune-up your vehicle: A tune-up saves fuel and ensures that the vehicle starts.
  • Check your Battery: Your battery will need to withstand sub-zero temperature starts.
  • Change to Winter Tires: Your traction on winter roads will only be as good as your tire tread.
  • Check Your Windshield: Winter wipers, good arm tension, and sub-zero windshield washer fluid are all winter necessities. Use Antifreeze to ensure coolant will not freeze in sub-zero temperatures. Clear windshield, rear and side windows, mirrors, brake lights, and headlights. Clean off the vehicle so the snow can’t fly up or slide down and block your view (or fly off onto the vehicle behind you). Make sure to check to see if your windshield washer fluid is full.

Safe Driving Tips for New and Experienced Drivers:

1. Skid Control and Prevention

Skids occur when tires lose their grip on the road. This can be caused by:

  • Abrupt braking
  • Hard acceleration
  • Abrupt steering/taking turns too fast
  • Excessive speed

Most serious skids result from driving too fast for conditions. Your best defense for preventing a skid is to slow down. Adjust your driving to conditions to maintain control.

To help control your vehicle and prevent a skid you must:

  • Look and steer where you want to go.
  • If you are pressing the brake, ease off the pedal.
  • Be ready to counter-steer as needed.
  • If possible, shift into neutral

2. Emergency Survival Kit

In case of an accident, it is important for your vehicle to be equipped with a 72-hour Emergency Survival Kit. The kit can help you stay safe and warm in case of a roadside emergency.

What to include in the Survival Kit:

  • A first aid kit
  • Emergency blankets/li>
  • A wireless cellphone charger
  • Water and non-perishable food items
  • Umbrellas and/or rain ponchos
  • A change of dry clothes
  • Emergency flares
  • A whistle

This is important for every new and experienced driver to have in their vehicle in case of a roadside emergency.

New and experienced drivers have challenges navigating through harsh winter weather conditions. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings so you can protect yourself and other drivers on the road.

To make sure you are prepared for driving in winter weather conditions register today for our SafeStart course!

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