Winter driving is not as bad as it seems. Sure, there are some ice patches on the road and we all have to deal with those frustrating hills and potholes in the pavement, but once you get used to it you’ll find that driving in the snow just requires a few tweaks here and there. And since we’re about halfway through our local winter season (and your car insurance rates are already beginning their yearly climb), here are my top four tips for staying safe on Canadian roads this year:
1. Clear off your windshield.
One of the best ways to ensure you have a clear view of the road is to get rid of all the ice and snow that’s built up on your car’s windshield.
- Use a scraper or ice melter: You can scrape off any accumulated snow and ice with a scraper, if it’s not too thick. If it is, try using an ice melter instead—they’re designed to melt away even the most stubborn layers at their core, making them ideal for scraping away what remains.
- Use windshield wiper fluid: Another way to clear out your window—but only after it has been scraped or melted clean—is with one of those winter refills for your windshield wiper fluid reservoir (the kind that cleans as well as washes). These are generally alcohol-based solutions that will help dissolve away any remaining obstructions and give you clear vision again!
- Break up ice with chisel: If all else fails, breaking up ice with other tools may be necessary. A chisel works pretty well when applied directly against an icy section; just aim carefully so you don’t end up scratching yourself or damaging anything else before removing all traces from this surface area!
2. Go slower than usual.
The National Safety Council recommends driving 10 to 15 mph slower than the posted speed limit. This allows you to react more quickly, stop more safely and reduces your risk of skidding. Slower speeds are also safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers, so it’s a win-win.
3. Increase your stopping distance.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your winter driving is increase your stopping distance. The standard rule of thumb when it comes to braking distance is about 1 second for every 3 meters you want to slow down, but in winter weather, that number should be doubled or even tripled.
If you’re not sure how much extra room you need to stop on slick roads, remember this: If it takes extra time and effort for your car’s tires to grip the road surface, then they probably aren’t going fast enough yet! So remember: Brake before entering a slippery area—not after it!
Another tip? Use anti-lock brakes (ABS) whenever possible; they’ll enhance your ability to brake safely by keeping those spinning wheels from locking up during hard stops. Even if the technology isn’t standard on all vehicles anymore (and many cars don’t have ABS), it’s still worth looking into getting installed if at all possible because—in addition to improving control over skidding—it also makes coming down from hills easier than ever before as well!
4. Make sure to keep your gas tank at least ½ full.
- If you’re planning on driving in cold weather, make sure to keep your gas tank at least ½ full. It’s important to have enough fuel so that you can keep your engine running while warming up the car if your battery dies or has other issues. You don’t want to be stuck in a ditch unable to start your vehicle and waiting for help!
- Keep an emergency kit in your trunk that includes blankets, jumper cables, tools and other things necessary for getting yourself out of trouble if something goes wrong.
The key to staying safe on the roads this winter is to take your time and be prepared for anything that comes your way. Remember these tips and keep them in mind as we head into what could be another rough season of snow storms and freezing temperatures. If you have any questions, call Grandcity Autobody Shop in Vancouver or Grandcity Autobody Shop in Richmond. We’re always happy to help.