Be Snow Warned – Safe Winter Driving
The plows are on hold, the plow operators have honed their skills and the salt is stored, waiting for the inevitable winter weather. But drivers must also be prepared. Winter driving can be a challenge, even for the most experienced motorists. Extra preparation and caution can help keep you safe.
The City of Bracebridge Public Works Department, in conjunction with the Ontario Good Roads Association’s “SnowHow” campaign, provided some safe driving tips to remind and help drivers navigate the roads safely this winter. :
Winterize your vehicle
- It is important to keep vehicles in top working order during the winter. Prepare your vehicle for winter with a maintenance check. Consider installing four (4) winter tires.
- Keep your fuel tank at least half full and pack an ice scraper, snow brush and windshield washer fluid that is effective down to -40 ° C.
- Keep an emergency survival kit in your vehicle, such as first aid kit, charged cell phone, non-perishable food, water, flashlight, blanket, warm clothes, cables boot, shovel and traction mats or sand. Having essential supplies can provide comfort and security if you find yourself stranded.
Before you leave
- Plan your destination in advance. Check local news sources for weather forecasts and traffic information before setting out. Visit Ontario511 or Twitter @ 511Ontario to check road conditions, road closures, and track snow plows on provincial roads. Unless relocation is absolutely necessary, delay driving if there are weather warnings or reports of poor road conditions. If the roads are closed, don’t travel at all.
- Remove ice and snow from your vehicle’s windows, mirrors, front and rear lights, license plates and roof.
Slow down and stay in control
- Slow down and drive according to weather conditions, as speed limits are set for ideal conditions. Adjust your speed accordingly and allow yourself more travel time.
- Avoid sudden movements, starts or stops. Start slowly and use controlled, constant pressure when accelerating on slippery or snowy roads. Gradually brake, leaving enough space between you and other vehicles. Keep in mind that it takes almost twice as long for an average vehicle to stop in loose snow compared to dry road conditions. Hard braking, rapid acceleration, and sudden gear changes can cause you to skid.
- Approach intersections slowly when they are covered with ice or snow. Steer smoothly through turns and lane changes in slippery conditions to maintain control.
Focus and stay alert
- Concentrate on the road and don’t drive distracted.
- Pay attention to the road surface. Asphalt in winter should be gray-white. If it looks black and shiny, it might be covered in ice. Keep in mind that shaded areas, bridges and overpasses freeze up earlier than other sections of road.
- Anticipate large vehicle sprays that can cause sudden loss of visibility. Be ready to activate your windshield washer and wipers.
To be visible
- In poor visibility and whiteout, keep your headlights on so drivers behind you can see your taillights. If the weather conditions become dangerous, park carefully and wait for the weather to improve.
Watch out for snow plows
- Stay away from snow plows and other winter maintenance vehicles with flashing blue lights. Plows are very wide and can create snow clouds, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a collision. Approaching a plow from behind; slow down, stay back and be patient.
- Never pass a working snow plow. It is very dangerous for you and the plow operator. Line of sight and visibility can be significantly reduced by blowing snow and the snow ridge created by the plow. Trying to pass between or around a plow could result in a serious and even fatal collision