Driving in the Winter is unlike any other season. Driving through snow or over ice can make your car hard to drive and unpredictable. It’s especially dangerous when you don’t know how other people are reacting to the same tricky conditions you’re dealing with.
Just because Christmas is over, it doesn’t mean that Winter is. In fact, today I drove 30 minutes out of the city and found deep snow on our local mountains. I knew what to expect but it’s super easy to be found off-guard. Icy, snowy roads are something we have to deal with across the country, but there are easy ways you can increase your safety and car control.
OK Tire, the trusted full auto specialists are here to help with a quick overview on everything you need to know. Did you know that each OK Tire store is independently owned and operated, making your experience unique to where you live? That’s pretty cool. OK Tire has been part of Canadian landscape since 1953 and is now one of the largest independent tire retailers in Canada with more than 300 locations, in 10 provinces. Find your local OK Tire here.
Darryl Croft, automotive maintenance expert at OK Tire, offers his top bad weather driving tips:
1. Know your vehicle. Every vehicle is different, so learning about your car’s braking system and tire traction can help you understand how it will perform in slippery or snowy driving conditions. When reading your car’s manual look for words such as rear wheel, front wheel, or four-wheel drive, as well as anti-lock braking system, to better understand how your vehicle will respond to a skid.
2. Snow removal is essential. Before getting in your car, it’s essential that you clear snow and ice from everything — windows, mirrors, lights, roof, and even your boots. This will help prevent unremoved snow from sliding forward and blocking visibility during braking or melting and fogging up windows.
3. Mind the gap. Anyone who has driven in winter knows changing lanes in snowy conditions can be challenging. Minimizing your steering angle when merging can help you avoid the ridge of snow that may have built up between lanes from pulling your tires. In slippery conditions, tripling or quadrupling your gap between vehicles can also help you avoid a nasty collision.
4. Don’t panic. Even careful and experienced drivers can skid. When you find yourself skidding, keep eyes on the road and where you want to go. Don’t make sudden, jerking movements of the wheel, accelerator or brake (common things to do when panicking) and keep feet steady.
5. Don’t spin out. If you find yourself stuck, don’t spin your wheels as this can dig you deeper into the snow. Try edging yourself free by gently rocking your car back and forth by shifting into forward and reverse. To regain steering control, take your foot off the brake and focus on gently steering towards the direction you want to go. Ease off the gas pedal and wait for the wheels to grip the road before carefully accelerating.
6. Beware of all-season tires. They may sound like a huge cost-saver, but all-season tires are not designed for rough winter conditions. Winter tires work best when temperatures dip below 7°C and offer the best traction, handling, and braking — especially when it comes to shorter braking distances.
Croft points out that if driving conditions are really bad, avoiding driving altogether is your safest bet. A regular pre-winter inspection by an auto service provider can also ensure your vehicle can tackle the roads safely.
As promised, here’s a chance to win with the #OKTireWINter contest.
The #OKTireWINter contest goes through February 28th. The contest is open across Canada and prizes include: 2 winners at the end of contest term to receive the total cost of a recent OK Tire visit up to $1000 each, $25 gift card winners each week to use at any OK Tire store. https://www.oktire.com/contest/
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by OK Tire. All photos are property of me, James Smith for use on SocialDad.ca, so hands off! Seriously though, make sure your car is Winter-ready. And for us Vancouver-ites, in a month or two it’ll be time to get our Summer tires back on!