Snowy roads and severe weather in Ontario can make for extremely dangerous winter driving conditions. If you’re not confident and prepared, it can be pretty scary. While it’s always best to simply avoid driving when road conditions are poor, it’s not always an option. As a responsible driver, you need to be prepared for the worst. So, if you find yourself stuck on the roads during a winter storm, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and poise to make it to your destination safely.
Be prepared. Follow these three simple, yet effective winter driving tips.
Keep a safe driving distance
Following too closely is always dangerous. In the winter, when visibility is diminished, and roads are cold and slippery, it becomes even more important to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Focus on leaving longer than usual stopping distances. This will allow more time to react to a bad situation. for example, if the car in front of you loses control, you’ll have more time to avoid a collision. in addition, if traffic suddenly stops and you’re forced to brake, you’ll have more time to reduce your speed.
Control your speed
Speeding is a leading cause of traffic accidents in Ontario. In the winter, speed becomes even more dangerous. A lot of times, drivers think that because they have a four-wheel drive, they’re invincible. The truth is, while your drivetrain will help you accelerate on slippery roads, it will not prevent you from sliding on icy roads. Plus, four-wheel drive does little to nothing to help your vehicle stop. So, regardless of what type of car you’re driving, speeding in winter weather is extremely dangerous! When the roads are slick, reduce your speed.
Manage your braking
Knowing how to properly apply your car’s brakes in different weather conditions can drastically improve your safety on the road. Whenever possible, it’s always best to apply your brakes slowly and smoothly. A great example of this is when you’re turning or cornering. As you approach the turn, you should reduce your speed before entering the corner. This way, as you turn your steering wheel, you will not be braking or accelerating. This will maximize your vehicle’s traction, and allow you to maintain control through the turn.
However, sometimes we can be forced to react quickly to a situation on the road ahead. When this happens, most drivers will instinctively hammer on the brakes. But in slippery road conditions, hard braking like this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The fact is, when you hit the brakes hard, your wheels lock up, and your ability to steer is all but lost. To avoid this from happening to you, try to pay closer attention to your surroundings at all times. By applying greater focus, you’ll be able to anticipate your need to brake earlier. In turn, this will give you more time to steer clear of dangerous collisions, and apply your brakes more smoothly.
The truth is, while you can never completely avoid the dangers of winter driving, there are things you can do to significantly improve your safety. By managing your speed, maintaining a safe distance from the car ahead of you, and controlling your braking, you can drastically decrease your chances of a weather-related accident. But, don’t wait until the winter weather strikes. Practice these three simple tips now, so when the driving conditions change, you’ll feel confident and prepared.