Winter is almost here and winter driving can be tough for all drivers, especially new ones. Your first instinct may be to avoid driving or keep new drivers at home when the winter weather hits, but this may not always be possible. So, what can you do instead? Prepare ahead of time and reduce the stress of driving in winter. This will keep new drivers safe and teach them how to drive in winter weather. Because here, in Canada, the winter weather cannot be avoided. Here are some tips to help prepare you driving in the winter season:
- Get your car ready for winter.
Make sure that your car is winter-ready ahead of time. Don’t wait for the first snow day. Be prepared for cold temperatures and bad driving conditions. Here’s what you need;
- Get a mechanic to check your car for winter readiness – fluid checks, battery strength, wiper blades, etc.
- Prepare and keep an emergency kit in the car(Water, Non-perishable food, warm clothing, blanket, jumpercable, spare batteries, etc)
- Keep an ice scraper/snow brush in the car at all times
- Mount all four winter tires
- Always carry a fully charged cellphone with you.
- Practice with an adult.
It is always a great idea to practice under the close supervision of a driving instructor or trusted and experienced adult, especially when it is your first experience with winter driving. Practice turning and braking at slow speed in the daytime, and in open areas.
- Understand the winter driving conditions.
Everyone must anticipate less-than-ideal road conditions. For one, the roads are slippery and you, therefore, need more space to brake. Always add an extra space cushion around your vehicle while driving.
4. Avoid unnecessary travel in bad weather and always plan your route and check driving conditions before leaving home. Weather and driving conditions can change very quickly always check driving conditions and plan your route.
- Learn how to brake on winter roads.
Braking on wet, slushy, slippery roads is very different from braking on dry roads, so it is important to learn how to use the brakes safely during bad driving conditions. Slamming on the brakes may cause the car to skid. When you do use your brakes, do so gently and earlier than you would in non-winter conditions. Driving slowly is important during the winter; drivers can lose control of a car when they hit the brakes hard on an icy road. This is true even for cars equipped with safety features, like anti-lock brakes and stability control.
- Drive for conditions, not posted speed.
An obvious winter driving tip is that getting around in winter can take longer, so plan your trip and give yourself more time to reach your destination to avoid speeding or even, at times, driving at posted speed limits. Drive according to the conditions, not to posted speed limits. New vehicle models have lots of safety features like ABS, traction control, stability control, etc., however, these tools will be of little or no help if you’re speeding.
- Look where you want to go.
While driving has your full attention is helpful, more so in winter, to anticipate situations developing ahead of you. Keep your eyes as far down the road as possible, scanning from left to right, so you have as much time as possible to respond.