When it comes to winter driving, the first snowfall of the season can cause even the most competent driver to lose their skills – or worse, get too confident for weather conditions.
Here are five tips for safe winter driving:
1. Slow down and keep your distance – Slushy snow and below-freezing temperatures at night mean icy patches are a common occurrence on Fraser Valley streets. To avoid a collision with a car that suddenly brakes ahead of you, increase your following distance and travel according to the weather conditions – not the speed limit.
2. Invest in winter tires – Winter tires provide better traction, handling and braking in cold weather, unlike all-season tires, which lose grip when the temperature dips below 7 C.
3. Check your tire pressure – Colder weather reduces your tire pressure. Not only can under-inflated tires wear out more quickly, they can also affect your driving. Be sure to check your tire pressure and tread before you hit the road.
4. Steer into a skid – It seems counter-intuitive, but when you start to skid, the best way to regain control of your vehicle is to steer gently “into” the skid by turning the wheel in the direction that your vehicle is skidding.
5. Keep calm – Many drivers who are uncomfortable in difficult weather conditions tense up, which can impede precision driving. Try unclenching your hands and slowing down to lower your stress level; when you relax, you’re able to drive more skillfully and with greater precision.