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Drive safe this winter

Drive safe this winter

It is usually around this time that we start to feel the cold. It’s also around this time that we need to remind ourselves of driving in the snow and ice and the different skills we may need when driving outside the city during winter.

Conditions vary greatly in Canada depending on where you live. Some places will have 5m snowdrifts while other places will just have ice which will be cleared by the city. Either way, driving in winter requires a different mindset and different skills. Now is a good a time as any for a reminder.

Prepare your car

Car Nation Canada published a prepare your car for winter post a couple of weeks ago. We would urge you to familiarize yourself with it before it gets too cold. Make sure you give your car a once over, check fluids, check all your lights, check windshield wipers, check tires, change into winter tires if appropriate, make sure you always have gas in the tank and a cold weather survival bag in the trunk.

Plan ahead on the road

Surviving winter on the road is about planning ahead. If your car is ready to go, make sure you are too. Keep your gas tank as full as you practically can, give cars plenty of extra space while on the road, look slightly further ahead than usual and try to anticipate situations before they arise.

Stopping distance

While winter tires offer extra grip in adverse conditions, they can take slightly longer to bring you to a stop. Plan for that. As well as giving yourself more space between the vehicle in front on the road, brake earlier and more softly to maintain that extra grip. Anticipate traffic and the conditions and keep your driving style as smooth as possible to avoid losing grip and skidding.

Handling a skid

If you do lose grip on the road, don’t panic. Easier said than done I know but you need to keep your head. If you feel the car lose grip on the road, ease of the gas and don’t make any sudden movements with the steering wheel. Turn into the skid if you can but don’t wrench the wheel. Turn it firmly but steadily toward the direction you need to go.

You should find that as you move, the tires will find grip again and you can steer out of the skid and accelerate slowly but steadily until you’re up to speed.

Plan your route

Stick to main roads wherever possible, give yourself extra time, make peace with the fact journeys will take longer and can be more stressful and try to go with the flow. Winter comes every year and it’s just something we have to live with. Giving yourself extra time and adaptive your route should help.

If you need help preparing your car for winter, Car Nation Canada can help.

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