Now is the time to get ready for snowy and icy roads. As you know, when winter hits, driving conditions change quickly, and you have to be sure that you have the right equipment. Your behaviour behind the wheel has to change too. So get your checklist ready and give yourself a refresher course in how to stay safe during the winter driving season.
First and foremost, you'll need to swap out your tires.
The Best Tires for Winter Driving Season
No matter how skilled you are behind the wheel, having the right tires for winter driving is crucial. Ideally, you should have four matching winter tires that are marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall. These tires offer the best traction for driving on snow and ice.
In fact, in many areas, having the right winter tires isn't just a safe choice. It's the law. In British Columbia, most highways have signs posted showing how passenger vehicles are required to have mountain/snowflake tires between October 1 and March 31. Commercial vehicles must also carry chains during this time.
In addition to putting the right kind of tires on your vehicle for winter, you should also do the following:
- Schedule a maintenance check up. A trusted mechanic should inspect your battery, brakes, lights, cooling and heating systems, exhaust systems and all belts and hoses.
- Swap your regular wiper blades for winter blades. These heavier blades make it easier to clear snow and ice from your windshield.
- Fill up your windshield washer reservoir. Since there is a good chance that you will be using fluid frequently, you should purchase extra to store in your car.
- Prepare a winter survival kit to keep in your trunk. This kit should include jumper cables, non-perishable food, blankets and first aid supplies. You may also want to add sandbags, road flares, a flashlight with extra batteries, extra clothing and anything else that you might need.
Once you're properly equipped for winter driving, in order to help keep those icy and snowy roads safe for everyone, you will next need to focus on how you drive.
Changing Road Behaviours for Winter Driving Season
According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), motorists are still driving too fast during the winter months. Their studies show that, on average, the number of speed-related crashes doubles in December, compared to October. For example, in 2015, there were 117 reported crashes in October and 236 in December.
These collisions can be especially dangerous for those who drive for work. Apparently, according the same ICBC data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of "traumatic workplace death." It should also be noted that more of these fatal crashes happen between October and February every year.
As a driver, you can do your part to bring these numbers down. Remember that winter driving is hazardous driving, so slow down when road conditions are bad. The posted speed limits are for optimal conditions. So it stands to reason that no one should be going as fast when ice and snow appear.
ICBC President and CEO, Mark Blucher, offers the following advice for winter driving:
"During fall and winter, drivers need to adjust their driving for the road conditions they encounter, allow extra travel time and ensure their vehicle is properly equipped for every trip. For the safety of everyone on our roads, slow down, increase your following distance to at least four seconds and use extra caution -- especially when approaching intersections."
For more information about safe winter driving, visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca. Here, you'll find online courses to take, advice and tips, news and events and other valuable resources.
Upgrade to a Safer Winter Ride with the Right Auto Financing
If you know that you'll need a safer, more reliable vehicle to get you through the winter months, Canada Auto Loan can help. Even if you have imperfect credit or no credit, we can assist you with finding auto loan approval.
Our process is fast and simple. When you apply with us, we match you with a dealership in your area that works with the right kinds of lenders. You'll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can get financed and back on the road. Also, the service we provide is absolutely free and comes with no obligations. So go ahead and fill out our simple and secure online application to get started today.