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How To Drive Carefully In The Winter

How To Drive Carefully In The Winter

Reports reveal that car accidents increase as much as 20% in certain areas of the Lower Mainland during winter months. This means increased insurance, more damaged vehicles, numerous injured individuals and even a stark increase in accident-related deaths from December through March. Take initiative this season and get follow our guidelines to ensure safer winter driving!

1.) Get Winter Tires
– This is likely the simplest/most effective tip for protecting your driving this winter
“Winter tires make for safer driving. Period.  At the end of the day the steering and stopping capability of a winter tire is superior to an all season tire. I know we are all worried about getting stuck in the snow, but really, what we need and want is to be able to stop and steer in the cold weather, the added traction is a bonus. A winter tire is softer with biting edges for traction, steering, breaking and has increased channelling in the tread to evacuate snow, slush and rain.

There is a lot of confusion about winter tires. People tend to think they only need them for the snow, and that they are more expensive. In fact, winter tires work best in the cold weather which includes those lovely Lower Mainland rainy days. And, in the winter is when manufacturers have rebates on winter tires. You can save money, and then extend the life of both sets of your tires by spreading the wear between them. Having two sets of tires really is the optimal way to go, as you have best tire for the weather. Some All Season tires come with the M&S (Mud and Snow) rating; however, they are not a true winter tire, they simply have a better design than some all season tires. The Snowflake symbol is the only true identification of a winter tire.

Both my wife and my personal vehicles have winter tires on them. We switch them over mid October every year, we winter proof our home and our vehicles at the same time, and I encourage everyone I know to use winter tires as well. There is a difference, they are safer, and after you get your first set you will never go back.”

– Dale Carpenter, Owner of OK Tire Newton, 38 years in automotive industry.

2.) Dealing With Skidding
– Avoid using the brakes as they cause skidding. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the speed to decrease by itself until you regain control
-if the car starts to spin while skidding, steer into the direction of the spin and allow the car to straighten on its own

3.) Listening for snow/ice
–  Keep your radio off because one of your first indicators that you’re driving on ice is what you’re hearing: when driving on snow you’ll hear crunching under your tires so if the tire noise suddenly becomes quiet, you may be driving on a patch of ice

4.) Distance
– “Driving slowly” does not tell the full picture, drive slow enough so you can keep an 8-10 second distance between you and car in front of you

5.) How to Correctly Turn
– Three actions encourage skidding: speeding up, slowing down and changing direction (turning)
– Try your best to avoid doing two of these actions together (e.g., turning and slowing down)
– When you’re at a turn it’s best to remain at a constant speed so you don’t further promote skidding

6.) Hydroplaning
– What is it: when so much water has built up in your tires that they lose contact with the road
-How to deal with it: ease your foot of the gas and begin to steer in the direction you want your car to go
– If you need to brake, pump your brakes gently until you regain contact with the road
– How to avoid it in the first place: keep your tires properly inflated, rotate/replace tires when necessary, avoid driving in puddles/standing water (a good tip is to drive in the tire tracks left by the car in front of you) and, of course, drive slowly

7.) Keeping Windshield clear
– If your view is being obstructed with fumes on your front windshield, turn the A/C on air-recirculation with a front window slightly open (unless the inside of the car is very hot and moist wherein you turn the A/C on “Fresh Air”)
– A good tip is to check your roof for snow before you drive because nothing would be worse than snow slipping down your windshield for a quick second and not being able to clearly see the snowy road

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