The View from The Niagara Guide

General observations and musings on how we can make Niagara a better place.

Winter's here - here are three tips to help you drive safely

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Snowy day in NiagaraIt's a beautiful day out there - especially if you like snow.

I KNOW you're Canadian and therefore have evolved in such a way that you have a natural talent for driving in snow. That being said, there are going to be cars in ditches more than the average number of collisions today.  As a former driving instructor, I thought I'd share a few pieces of advice.


Yes, I know I'm preaching to the converted, but really, this does need to be said. I don't care how good your tires and your brakes are. The laws of physics dictate that your vehicle will have less traction in snow. That means it will take longer distances to stop and you will not have as precise control when you steer. It only gets worse when you are driving too fast for the conditions you're in.

Check Your Tires

Two things here:

  1. If you're going to stick with your all-season tires, make sure the tread is good and that they're properly inflated. There is a sticker on the inside driver's side of the vehicle that tells you what the proper tire inflation levels are for your vehicle.

  2. I strongly recommend winter tires. Traction's much improved with them compared to all-season tires. If you like to be able to control your vehicle, you should be a fan of winter tires. I know it's expensive to buy them, but a collision is more expensive than a set of tires and rims.

Make Sure You Can See

Visibility's rather essential when driving. If your wipers aren't cleaning snow properly, get new ones. They're much less expensive than your insurance deductible. Also, clean your windows on the inside. Dirty windows fog up more.

Speaking of fogging up, we've all seen drivers on the road in cars with completely fogged up windows. To clear those windows faster, turn on your air conditioner. The AC will help remove the moisture in the air that is condensing on the inside of your windows. Some cars have settings that turn on the AC automatically to help clear the windshield. If yours doesn't, this should help. If you don't have AC, make sure you're pumping in lots of fresh air and try to get your windows warm as quickly as possible to prevent condensation.

There are plenty more things you can do to help make your driving safer, but I think these are the big three. It all comes down to your attitude about driving. It's more beneficial to focus on safety and getting where you are going without stress.

I hope you have a safe day out there!


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