Driving in winter conditions can be intimidating, so we’ve come up with a guideline to help you drive with confidence during these wet winter months!
Prepare Yourself and Your Vehicle
The first step to ensure a safe winter drive, is to prepare both yourself and your vehicle. We strongly recommend going through this checklist before hitting the road.
- Install winter tires. In B.C., legal winter tires will either be labelled with “M+S” or with a 3 peaked mountain and snowflake symbol. The government of B.C. recommends tires with the 3 peaked mountain and snowflake symbol as they have preferred traction for snowy and icy conditions.
- Ensure your tire pressure is correct, as lower temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop.
- Check that your brakes and all lights are working properly
- Ensure your windshield wipers are working. You may want to consider purchasing designated winter wipers.
- Adjust your vehicles climate control settings before getting on the road. If your windows become foggy, trying to adjust your setting while driving can be very distracting!
- Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include an ice scraper, a blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, and more. See here for a full list of what to include in your emergency kit.
- Make sure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel.
- Stay up to date on road conditions before leaving.
- Clear all snow and/or ice off of your vehicle. Don’t forget that layer on top!
On the Road
Once you and your vehicle are prepared, take the time to make sure you are familiar with what to do while on the road. Driving in dark, wet, and possibly slippery conditions can be scary, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with tips to stay in control while driving.
- Do not use cruise control in slippery conditions.
- Drive slowly when necessary, it’s better to be late and safe than risk an accident.
- Drive on main roads- back roads are usually less lit, and don’t get ploughed as quickly as main roads.
- Stay alert and calm.
- Allocate extra time for travel.
- Keep your gas tank as full as possible- this will keep your vehicle heavy which will facilitate better traction.
- Keep extra distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Never slam on your brakes in slippery conditions! If you need to stop quickly, pump on your brakes to allow for a safer stop and to avoid sliding.
Know When to Stay Home
Family and friend gatherings typically become more frequent over the winter. As fun as these gathering can be, what’s most important is your safety. Before going out, we encourage you to assess the road conditions, and stay home if necessary.
There you have it, our top safety tips for winter driving. Of course, all other non-winter specific driving tips apply as well. For our list of general driving safety tips click here.