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Tips for Driving in the Winter

Everybody thinks the snow is beautiful when it first falls, but as the cold months persist, we realize what a drag winter can be. There's the constant shovelling, freezing temperatures, the tendency to get sick, and slush everywhere. But winter has it out for one group in particular - drivers.

Canadians and Driving in the Winter

Driving and winter conditions do not mix particularly well, and Canadians are not shy about letting their disdain be known. State Farm recently released the results of a national survey and the findings were not particularly surprising.

  • 82 per cent of Canadians dislike driving in the winter
  • 86 per cent of Canadians believe they are good drivers, yet 2 out of 3 people say others drive horribly on the first snowfall
  • 73 per cent of drivers dislike winter traveling the most during the evening
  • Only 36 per cent of respondents said that speeding/overconfidence is a bad thing to do in winter driving conditions

Everybody seems to dislike doing it, but almost every one of us is going to have to drive at some point over the next five-plus months. There will be shorter daylight hours, limited visibility, freezing rain, and lots of snow and ice, but there are measures you can take to stay safe and better navigate wintry conditions.

Driving Tips for the Winter

Tips for Driving in the Winter
Don't let the wintry roads and conditions get the best of you by following these tips:

  • Switch to Winter Tires
    Winter tires are better at maintaining traction in snowy conditions and significantly reduce the amount of time and distance it takes to stop. Yet 25 per cent of those surveyed by State Farm say they do not use winter tires. In fact, they are not some glorified marketing campaign or advertising trick but the real deal, so make sure that you get them on your vehicle before the winter weather comes in earnest.
  • Prep Your Vehicle for Winter
    There are many other things that you can do to your vehicle outside of putting on snow tires. You can get winter wiper blades, apply water repellent to your windshield and windows, and prepare emergency supplies to keep in your vehicle at all times. You shouldn't drive without a fully charged phone, an ice scraper and brush, a shovel, blankets and extra warm clothes, a flashlight, a first aid kid, jumper cables, and even some sand or kitty litter in case you need to create traction. Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
  • Drive with a Different Mentality
    Most drivers need to completely revamp their driving style and habits when winter conditions come. You cannot abruptly accelerate, brake or steer in the snow or on ice. Keep a light grip on the wheel, make only slow, smooth movements to maintain traction, and apply a constant, firm output on the brakes when you need to stop (modern stability and anti-lock braking systems don't require you to pump your brakes). It's a good idea to do some test braking at the start of your trip in order to get a feel for the road.
  • Slow Down!
    In most cases, the only time that you lose control of your vehicle is when you are driving too fast for the conditions. When people get into an accident in the winter, or go into a ditch, they tend to blame their car, the roads or the weather. In reality, they and their driving habits are more than likely to be at fault. Just slow down and make getting to your destination safely your top priority.

If Your Vehicle Can't Take Harsh Conditions Any Longer

If you don't think that your vehicle is capable of handling wintry conditions any longer, you need an upgrade. If your credit is less than perfect and you need an auto loan, let Canada Auto Loan help you. We've helped hundreds of Canadians throughout the provinces and territories find affordable auto financing, and you could be next. All you need to do to begin the process is fill out our free, no-obligation online application