Some people think winter driving is an innate skill all Canadians have, just like their ability to find a game of shinny, enjoy temperatures colder than the North Pole,and eat artery-clogging poutine for dinner. They would be wrong. Unlike shovelling your face full of fries, winter driving is a hard-earned skill that takes years of practice. Don’t assume that you know how to handle the road after a snowstorm just because you’ve done it before. Check out these tips to keep yourself safe and collision-free this winter.
- Drive with patience
When you’re late for work or your daughter’s dance recital, you may forget about all the rules of the road in favour of getting where you need to go. You speed up, weave in and out of traffic, and tailgate those who aren’t going as fast. This is dangerous behaviour and could cause an accident.
It’s better to arrive late than not at all. You can reduce your chances of an accident by driving smoothly and slowly, taking care not to make abrupt turns or sudden stops. Leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you, remembering that you may take longer to brake because of snow or ice.
- Winter tires keep you safer on the roads
It’s official: winter tires are safer than any other tires. They’re made with specially formulated rubber that remains flexible in severe cold weather. This flexibility, as well as a specialized tread pattern, helps it keep a better grip on the road despite ice, snow, or slush. As a result, they consistently outperform all-season and summer tires in tests checking for braking speed and handling.
Don’t trust tires marked with just M + S — the symbol for mud + snow. This marking means they’re all-season tires, which are not suitable for cold weather or snow conditions. Only trust tires that have a symbol that looks like a snowflake inside of a mountain.
- Winter tires save on insurance
They don’t just reduce your chances of having an accident. They can also reduce your car insurance if you live in Ontario. The province offers a discount to anyone who uses winter tires between December 1 and March 31 every year. You can learn more about what the discount entails by heading to the province’s official website or by speaking with your insurance representative.
Your next step is to speak with your winter tire specialist, so you can finally take advantage of this discount. If you live in Mississauga, the folks at Veerpreet Service Centre are a great source of information. They’ve have helped people in the GTA get winter tire ready for the past 25 years, so they know everything there is to know about winter tires. They can successfully choose the right tire for your vehicle based on their extensive knowledge of the industry and their experience as an auto service centre.
4.Ensure your tires have proper air pressure
The right air pressure is just as important as the right tire. In addition to increasing your road safety, proper air pressure extends the life your tires, and it reduces your average fuel consumption.
If you install winter tires at the start of every season, your auto repair technician will ensure your tires have the right pressure. For example, the crew at Veer Preet always performs tire inspections and balancing and pressure checks when they complete a changeover. However, it’s a good idea to check your pressure regularly throughout the season. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so you may need to have them checked again at the end of the season.
- Forget cruise control exists
Sometimes, your commute will take you away from the GTA’s traffic. Take, for example, when you drive on the 407, which often has stretches of highway free of other cars. Here you may feel tempted to use cruise control, but this could put you in danger.
Your chances of hydroplaning increase in inclement weather, even if you have winter tires. Should you hydroplane while on cruise control, your car’s automated system will try to accelerate to correct it — which can cause your vehicle to spin out of control. Leave cruise control for the summer, and drive with caution anytime you’re on the road.
Though simple, these tips can help stay safe on the road this winter. They’re the kind of tips that take some people a lifetime to figure out. Luckily for you, you can start putting them to use the next time you’re in the car.