Winter is here and that means driving just got a lot more difficult. Canadian weather is infamously unpredictable — don’t let it catch you off guard.
Accidents happen, especially when conditions are subpar. Whether it’s poor visibility during a blizzard or a slippery road, it’s important that you know how you can help keep yourself safe. Before the snow truly begins to blow, let’s take a look at what can help keep you safe on the road.
Your Tires Matter
Most cars leave the factory with all-season tires on — after all, they’re versatile. They can handle summer roads, rain, and even light snow. However, in the winter months, the snow is often anything but light. Here in Ontario, all-seasons don’t cut it.
In order to deal with the wide range of road conditions faced by Ontarians, the construction of all-season tires must have compromises. These are most apparent in the winter when all-seasons struggle with traversing snow and ice.
As Bridgestone puts it, these tires are like tennis shoes. Yes, you can wear them all year, but during a blizzard, you would be much better suited wearing boots.
It’s all about grip. In the winter cold, the rubber used in all-season tires stiffens, reducing traction, while winter tires are designed to deal with these low temperatures. Their tread depth is also far greater than all-seasons, allowing slush and snow to channel effectively with minimal loss of traction.
If Ontario saw only a few flurries a year, then all-season tires would be the right choice. However, with our iced-over roads and less-than-ideal driving conditions during the winter months, snow tires are essential to protecting yourself and others.
During the winter, black ice is a real threat to drivers. It’s nearly invisible — unless you know what to look for.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, black ice will make a road look like new asphalt, but pavement in the winter will rarely look this way naturally. Instead, it will look grey-white.
It’s also important to remember that bridges ice over easily, even when there is no ice on the ground surface. This happens because bridges lack the natural insulation afforded to roads by the earth.
When driving, visibility is everything. That’s why during the winter, you should drive with your low-beam headlights on. Since they are brighter than daytime running lights, they stand out more in the winter landscape, allowing other drivers to see you more easily. They also activate your taillights, giving drivers behind you a clearer picture of your location.
If you lose control of your vehicle, it is important that you do not panic and remain calm. The CCOHS recommends that you look in the direction you want to travel and steer towards it. Do NOT break. Simply take your foot off the accelerator ride out the skid.
When winter rears its cold head, it’s best to be prepared for several long months of winter driving. Remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others. Accidents happen, and when they do, we’re here to help. Remember to avoid these common mistakes and contact us to learn your rights.
Published on December 2, 2020