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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ten tips for winter driving.

Before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is road-worthy.

Avoiding car accidents in the snow

Winter driving is unavoidable in Canada. At some point, motorists will find themselves behind the wheel when the road is snowy and icy. It’s not a cause for panic, but it does call for preparation.

If you’re ready, then you won’t be caught off guard and unprepared for driving through snow, ice, and slush. These 10 tips will have you ready to drive safely through the winter months.

Before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is road-worthy. Have a mechanic check it over so you know that everything will operate as it should.

  1. Use winter tires. They are designed to stay flexible and provide traction at low temperatures in snow, slush, and ice.
  2. Having an emergency kit in your vehicle will help keep you safe and warm if your automobile breaks down.
  3. Top up the washer fluid reservoir with winter-rated fluid that has a freezing point of at least -40°C. Keep an extra container of fluid in your vehicle.
  4. Keep your fuel tank at least half full. This will ensure you have fuel to run the engine and keep warm if you get stuck. Having plenty of gas also helps prevent condensation which can lead to ice crystals in the fuel that can cause engine issues
  5. Check road conditions and the weather forecast. By accessing road condition information and the latest forecast, you won’t be surprised by what Mother Nature throws your way. It allows you to plan your trip, postpone it, or cancel it altogether if the weather is unfavourable. You can learn the most recent road conditions by calling 511 in the four Atlantic provinces. Each province also has its own website for checking maps and webcams:
  6. See and be seen. Before you take to the roads, make sure you’ve cleaned all the ice and snow off your car’s windows and lights. Also clear the roof, engine hood, and trunk lid to keep snow from blowing off while driving and reducing visibility for other drivers. Keep a brush or scraper in your car.
  7. Drive for the conditions. Just because the speed limit is 110 km/h, it doesn’t mean you should be driving that fast on icy, snowy roads. Posted speeds are set for ideal conditions—not a snowstorm. Brake safely and keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and others because stopping distances increase as traction decreases.
  8. Keep your vehicle’s lights on so it’s easier to see your vehicle in snowy conditions.
  9. Don’t use cruise control. Its automatic features could increase acceleration when the tires lose traction, and you may lose control of your vehicle. Without using cruise control, you will have your foot on the gas pedal and be aware of a loss of traction and can react immediately.
  10. Don’t panic if your car gets stuck in snow. Stay in your vehicle. Open the leeward side window for fresh air and ensure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Run your vehicle for 10 minutes per hour to keep it warm, charge your phone, and check the radio for news and weather updates. Make sure your hazard lights are on.

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