Essential Winter Driving Tips

The winter is coming, and some parts of Ontario are already experiencing snowfall. Well, this isn’t something new to Ontarians, but when it comes to driving, you must be cautious to avoid vehicle accidents. The territorial, provincial, and federal governments in Canada work in unison to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents and injuries.

Essential Winter Driving Tips

A report released by NCDB (Transport Canada’s National Collision Database) indicated that in 2017, there was a decrease in the total number of fatalities, severe injuries, and total injuries. According to these reports, 2017 marked the lowest level of all the three casualty categories since the establishment of NCDB in the early 1970s.

The NCDB report indicated that the total number of vehicle fatalities was 1841, a 2.8% decrease compared to the 1895 fatalities recorded in 2016. The total number of severe injuries dropped by 7.8% (from 10760 fatalities recorded in 2016 to 9960 reported in2017. The number of fatalities per 100,000 population recorded in 2017 was 5.0, the lowest level ever recorded. If you or your loved one was involved in a road accident, consult with personal injury lawyers for legal counsel.

Sure, snow is inevitable, but vehicle accidents can be. It’s recommended to take some safety measures to help prevent collisions. Experts recommend the following winter driving tips to prevent road fatalities and stay safe.

If your car skids here’s what to do

Sliding into a skid is a scary experience, especially if you’re inexperienced in driving during the winter. It takes more than just practice, but if you’re sure about what you should do once your vehicle starts skidding, you will definitely feel more confident behind the wheel.

The moment your rear wheel skids, take your foot off your vehicle’s accelerator and steer where your front wheel is supposed to be. Often, this is the direction the vehicle is skidding. In case the wheels swing in the opposite direction, turn the wheels back gently to the other side. Repeat this until your car regains traction. If your vehicle uses standard breaks, try to pump them gently. For a vehicle that employs ABS brakes, involve hard but constant pressure. You’ll notice a pulsing sensation as the breaks engage. Lightly ease off the breaks and then continue.

If the front wheel skids, step off the accelerator and shift into neutral gear. Don’t steer at once. Rather, let your vehicle slow down and probably gain traction as the wheels skid sideways. Steer the vehicle in your preferred direction and shift back into drive, and then accelerate gradually. Having more experience with winter driving makes it easier for you to handle a skidding vehicle. Remember, you shouldn’t panic if your car skids. 

If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, here’s what to do

Getting stuck in the snow is a nightmare for most people. However, that doesn’t have to be a disaster if you already know what you to do. Always have a usable emergency kit and do the following to release your vehicle:

  • Don’t spin the wheels as they will dig deeper in the snow
  • Try turning the steering wheel from side to side to help clear snow from the wheels
  • Lightly touch gas to regain traction
  • Consider shovelling snow away from the underside of your vehicle and sides of tires
  • Rock the car back and forth by accelerating gently while changing drive and reverse. Remember to check the vehicle user manual before this to avoid damaging the transmission system.
  • Keep one of the windows ajar to ensure the vehicle doesn’t seal shut
  • If you realize your vehicle is immovable, tie something bright to the vehicle’s antenna.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle

If the worst happens and you are stuck in a snowdrift, seek help immediately and wait near your vehicle. If you don’t have enough clothing to keep yourself warm, just use anything in your car to insulate your body from cold. Keep calm, stay warm, and you will overcome the anxiety associated with driving in the ice and snow.

Keep a safe distance

One of the biggest hazards when driving in a snowstorm is the other drivers who might be reckless or inexperienced on icy or snowy roads, or their vehicles lack the appropriate tires. Drive at a slow speed and maintain distance between vehicles. That means you can brake safely when necessary. Remember, if you slam on the breaks, you might lose traction easily.

Stay calm, composed, and apply controlled breaking

Whenever driving on an icy or snowy road, never slam on the breaks. If you must stop within a very short time, pumping the breaks can help you stop without sliding. If your vehicle has a modern braking system, you might have heard or felt its anti-lock braking system engage. This helps your vehicle stop in icy conditions by pumping the brakes rapidly.

If your vehicle has a standard transmission, you can downshift through the gears to slow it down instead of applying the brakes. This comes in handy, particularly when making your way down a steep hill. Be sure not to feather the clutch when releasing it, otherwise, you could make the vehicle skid. Generally, you should avoid instant acceleration or deceleration on snowy roads.

If you were involved in an accident, contact an experienced lawyer

The dangers of driving during the winter can lead to vehicle accidents. If you or your loved one was involved in such an accident and suffered injuries, get in touch with the Edson Legal injury lawyers for legal counsel. The law holds the at-fault driver accountable for a crash and the resulting damages. Therefore, you are entitled to some form of compensation for all medical bills, lost wages, pain or suffering, and other relevant damages.

Engage a personal injury lawyer who can strive for justice and the utmost compensation. Some insurers may be ready to make a reasonable settlement offer, while others will deny it. Whatever happens, your lawyer must act in your best interests and fight for your rights.




About Joel Levy 2574 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography