Winter in Canada is not for the faint of heart. The country’s northern location brings bitterly cold temperatures, strong winds, and plenty of snowfall. This combination makes driving during Canadian winters a challenging task.
Not Preparing Your Vehicle
Preparing your vehicle for challenging road conditions before winter is crucial. This preparation includes checking the tire pressure, ensuring you have enough antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, and installing winter tires.
Neglecting Routine Maintenance
Regular maintenance of your vehicle becomes even more crucial during the winter season. Ensure your brakes, battery, and heater are checked before the temperature drops. Neglecting these routine checks can cause unexpected breakdowns on the road.
Not Having an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit in your vehicle is essential in roadside emergencies. This kit should include a blanket, extra warm clothes, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and non-perishable food and water.
Driving at high speeds on icy or snowy roads can cause accidents. It takes longer to stop your vehicle in these conditions, so slow down and leave enough space between you and the car ahead.
Not Adjusting Your Driving Style
Adjusting your driving style to the conditions is crucial. It means slowing down, avoiding sudden movements, and being extra cautious on bridges and overpasses. Also, increase the following distance, approach corners and stops cautiously, and avoid sudden movements that can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Not Cleaning Your Windshield Properly
Clearing off snow and ice from your windshield before driving is a must. Utilize an ice scraper or brush to remove all obstructions, including any buildup on the wipers. This practice will improve visibility and ensure safe driving.
Not Using Your Headlights
Snowfall or fog can reduce visibility during winter. It’s essential to use your headlights whenever necessary, whether in dark or low visibility. This practice will help you see the road better and make other drivers aware of your presence.
Not Being Cautious on Black Ice
Black ice is a thin, transparent layer that forms on roads and can be challenging to spot. Driving cautiously when temperatures are below freezing is essential because black ice can form quickly and make roads extremely slippery.
Not Having an Emergency Plan
Having a plan in case of emergencies while driving during Canadian winters is crucial. Know the emergency phone number, have a fully charged cell phone, and let someone know your travel plans before heading out.
Not Checking Weather Conditions
Before hitting the road, always check weather conditions and road closures along your route and plan your trip accordingly. If the weather is too severe, consider postponing or changing your route to avoid dangerous conditions.
Not Adjusting Your Mirrors
Properly adjusting your mirrors before driving is essential in all weather conditions, especially Canadian winters. This step will ensure a clear view of the road around you, including any approaching vehicles.
Not Wearing Appropriate Clothing
Canadian winters are known for their frigid temperatures, so dressing appropriately before driving is crucial. Wear warm, waterproof clothing, gloves, and footwear to stay comfortable and safe in emergencies.
Not Having a Winter Driving Course
Winter driving requires special skills you may not learn during regular driving lessons. These courses provide valuable skills and knowledge, especially for new drivers. They cover various topics, including vehicle preparation, safe driving techniques, and emergency procedures.
Not Keeping Your Gas Tank Full
During winter, keep your gas tank at least half-full to avoid running out of fuel on the road. This practice will ensure you have enough fuel in case of any unexpected delays, accidents, or emergencies. It will also prevent the fuel line from freezing.
Not Knowing How to Handle Skids
Skidding is common on icy roads, and knowing how to handle it can prevent accidents. To avoid skidding, maintain a safe speed, don’t make sudden movements, and gently steer in the direction of the skid if your vehicle starts to slide.
Not Keeping Your Vehicle Clean
Salt and other chemicals used for de-icing roads can cause damage to your vehicle’s body and undercarriage if left uncleaned. Regularly washing your vehicle during winter can prevent this damage and maintain its appearance.
Not Staying Alert
Due to the challenging road conditions, winter driving requires extra focus and concentration. Avoid distractions such as texting, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving to stay alert and prevent accidents.
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