Doug Ross’ 4 Essential Safety Tips for Winter Driving in Canada

Doug Ross (Barrie)
Nov 20, 2019 · 3 min read

As the weather gets colder, the driving conditions in Canada will worsen. Fierce winter weather can develop at anytime — and this year, it already has! And while snowy days often announce the start of fun winter pastimes, driving certainly isn’t one of them. There’s no other way to put it: winter driving in Canada can be a scary experience.

For Canadians, we’re no strangers to driving on icy roads, however one wrong move can be much more dangerous in the winter. So, when it comes to driving in the winter in Canada, there are some necessary things to know in order to get through that dreaded winter commute as safe as possible.

As a previous owner of two General Motors car dealerships, Doug Ross has received countless questions about winter driving safety. Regardless if you’re a new driver, or a seasoned vet, here are four must-know tips on how to safely maneuver your way through driving in Canada this winter.

1. Switch to Winter Tires:

Whether there is snow on the ground or not, winter tires can be extremely beneficial. The rubber in all-season or summer tires can harden in cold temperatures, drastically reducing their ability to safely grip the road during the winter. In contrast, winter tires are formulated to continue to provide flexibility, even in sub-zero environments and heavy snow.

All provinces in Canada recommend switching to winter tires when the temperature falls below 7°C. Doug Ross states that winter tires have a larger tread and offer more control for winter driving.

2. Practice safe driving:

The most efficient way to avoid an accident during the winter is to be safer than normal while driving due to the inclement weather and road conditions. The main things to keep in mind when it comes to safe driving practice during Canadian winters are:

· Check road conditions ahead of time

· Stay home. Don’t make unnecessary journeys during heavy snowfall

· Allow for extra time during your commute — especially after a snowfall

· Avoid using cruise control during snowy weather

· Keep a full tank of gas

· Research and prepare what you should do if your car skids in the snow

· Slow down and drive safely

Doug Ross explains that practicing the above behaviours will significantly reduce the risk of an accident occurring while you are on the road.

3. Keep your car heated:

Winter weather can wreak havoc on the oil in your car. For example, colder temperatures can thicken the oil, which means it has more difficulty flowing through your engine. Keeping your car well heated will keep theses crucial parts of your engine working better, especially when the temperatures fall below freezing.

A “block heater” can be a great investment for winter driving, as it can keep your car’s engine and oil warm. Block heaters should be turned on between two and four hours before you drive, depending on how severe the cold is.

4. Keep prepared for emergencies:

Staying prepared for emergencies on the road is important, especially during the winter. Road conditions can change rapidly, and you may get caught in the middle of it during a long commute.

Doug Ross recommends that every car should have the following supplies before getting on the road this winter:

· Ice scrappers and snow brushes.

· Extra windshield wiper fluid.

· Warm clothes and blankets, including gloves, a warm hat and proper footwear.

· Non-perishable food, like cereal, chocolate, trail mix or granola, and water.

· First aid kit.

· Booster cables.

· Waterproof matches.

· Heat packs that can be placed inside your gloves or boots to stay warm.

· A small shovel in case your car gets stuck in the snow.

Safely Drive Your Way Through A Canadian Winter

Winter driving in Canada can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy from a recent snowfall. Doug Ross concludes that by following the four tips listed above you will be well on your way to a safe and collision-free winter driving experience.

Doug Ross (Barrie)
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