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Dec 16, 2013

5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Road This Winter

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Road During WinterIf you’re fortunate enough to live in a location that experiences all four seasons, winter can mean ice hockey, skiing, snowmen building, and a bunch of other fun activities that those living further south don’t get to experience.  Unfortunately, it can also mean adverse an often unpredictable weather conditions that turn driving into a difficult and potentially dangerous feat. In order to stay as safe as possible on the road through the winter months, here are a few tips that every driver can follow:

Check the Highway Reports

Most states and provinces offer online highway reports that are updated frequently during inclement weather. If you’ll be travelling outside of the city and are unsure about the road conditions, save yourself some potential trouble by checking the road reports ahead of time. If they recommend against travel, stay home and stay safe!

Leave Early

Icy roads and/or decreased visibility slow down travel speeds both within and outside of city limits. Running late is always stressful, but driving hurriedly is especially risky when road conditions are challenging.  Save yourself the stress of running late – or worse, an accident caused by driving too quickly – by leaving early.

Drive Slowly

Less traction due to ice means longer stop times. To avoid sliding through intersections or rear-ending other vehicles, drive slowly and begin stopping much earlier than you would on dry roads. Also increase your following distance – more time to stop means you’ll need more distance between you and the car in front of you to avoid a rear-end collision.

Invest in Winter Tires

Winter tires are tires (or snow tires) which have been specially designed to increase traction on snowy and icy roads. They are an extra investment, but there are a couple factors to consider. First, increased traction can mean avoiding costly (and dangerous) accidents caused by slipping on snow or ice. Second, winter tires don’t cost much more than all-season tires, and the miles put on your winter tires mean those miles weren’t put on your all-season tires. Simply put, your all-season tires will last longer to help offset the cost. Winter tires can actually reduce traction on dry, warm roads though, so only make this investment if you live in a location with consistently cold winters.

Be Prepared

Even when taking the above precautions, there is always a chance that you may encounter vehicle troubles or be involved in a collision this winter. To keep yourself safe in the event that you encounter one of these unfortunate circumstances, be sure to keep a few items on hand to get you through the incident safely. Extra blankets, flashlights, flares, a tow rope, and booster cables are all tools that are sure to be useful in the event that you become stranded. Stores like Canadian Tire even carry Emergency Car Kits that contain all of these items so that you’re always prepared in the event of a winter vehicle emergency.

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