Winter Driving Safety Tips

Well, it was bound to happen. We do live in Canada after all.

Driving in the winter requires more caution due to slippery road conditions and poor visibility during snowfall. Stay safe on the winter roads by following a few simple tips that will help you avoid accidents as well as the potential for getting stuck or stranded in a snowstorm.

Know before you go

Check the weather forecast before you head out anywhere, especially on the highways, and check road conditions as well for potential closures or delays. If the weather reports are calling for snow, be prepared for your trip to take longer.

Pack an emergency kit

Your car should be equipped with a winter emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, warm blankets, a few non-perishable food items, and items like a flashlight, folding shovel, and sand or cat litter for traction. Having a kit with these basics on hand can keep a minor roadside problem from becoming a major one—and can also help in a true emergency.

Clean off the car

If snow has accumulated on your car, make sure you clean it off before hitting the road. Clear the snow off your car's roof, hood, windshield, rear window, mirrors and lights.

Slow down

Posted speed limits designate the fastest speed at which you can safely travel in optimal road conditions. That means that when the roads are not at their best—like when there is ice, snow, and other winter road hazards—you should lower your speed. Consider the road conditions when you set your speed, and remember that driving too fast for the road conditions can earn you a speeding ticket.

Allow greater stopping distance

Slick roads will increase the distance your car needs to come to a safe stop. This means you need to brake earlier and more cautiously. Allow more distance between your car and the car in front of you in traffic to prevent a rear-end collision if you can’t stop in time, and use special caution when approaching pedestrian crosswalks and intersections.

Never overtake a moving snow plow

Be patient and keep a safe distance behind working snow plows, and resist the urge to pass. Attempting to pass a snow plow is extremely dangerous. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a meter or more ahead and even slightly into the neighbouring lane; they also may kick up snow that will greatly restrict visibility making passing even more dangerous.

Consider getting winter tires

Winter tires provide your car with more traction and handle freezing temperatures better than all-season or summer tires. They’ll help you to keep control of the car and stop effectively. Additionally, many car insurance companies offer an auto insurance discount for using winter tires, so you can save on your premiums and stay safe on winter roads at the same time.

Did you know? The winter tire discount will usually save you about 5 per cent. Compare quotes today to see how much you could save on your premiums with a winter tire discount.

Winter roads can be tricky—especially at the start of the season—and drivers should approach them with caution. Keep your car on the road and arrive safely at your destination by driving slowly and carefully.