7 Winter Driving Tips To Keep You Safe

Accidents in winter are often more serious because cars can’t slow down as quickly when they skate over ice. The key is to prevent the damage and injury by avoiding those accidents altogether. The problem, however, may not just be your driving. Other drivers can make poor judgements when winter driving. Others on the road may be slipping and sliding, which means you have to be ready to react to their poor choices.

Here are 7 winter driving tips to help keep you safe:

1. Slow down. Speed limits are only meant to be recommendations for dry road conditions. In bad weather, you’re expected to drive as slow as necessary to stay safe. Moderate your speed based on road conditions, so you don’t cause an accident, (or get a ticket for driving the speed limit during a blizzard).

2. Leave extra space. Add an extra 15-20 feet between you and the car ahead of you, and double that when driving on the highway. It will take you longer to stop in icy and snowy conditions. If you rear-end someone, you will likely also be held liable for following too closely.

3. Pump the brake. Most cars have anti-lock brakes, but that doesn’t mean you should rely on being able to hit the brakes. Slow down gradually, over a longer distance, to make sure you can stop when you need to. Test your braking capacity briefly,  well before you have to stop, to assess how slippery the road is.

4. Clear off your windshield and headlights. Don’t just clear off your windshield. Clear off your headlights as well so you can see the road ahead properly.

5. Replace windshield wipers. If you’re driving in rain, snow, or sleet you need to continually clear off the windshield. But that won’t work if your wiper blades are old. Make sure to replace them every several months.

6. Change your tires. Older tires don’t grip the road as well as newer ones with better tread. Check the warning signs on tire tread depth. If your tires are showing their age, replace them ASAP. The best, and safest, precaution is to install snow tires. Do not rely on “all-season tires”, particularly if you are travelling on the highway. Make sure your “all- season” tires are legal for high terrain highway driving (check for a snowflake/mountain emblem on the side wall).

7. Do Not use your cruise control. Don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions. Snow, ice, slush and even rain can cause wheel-spin and loss of control. The only way to stop it is to reduce power. However, an activated cruise control system will continue to apply power, keeping your wheels spinning. By the time you turn off your cruise control, it may be too late for you to get control of your steering again.

Paul Mitchell, Q.C.is a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with catastrophic injury claims, ICBC claims, and car crash cases.

Follow these tips so you do not end up being one of Paul’s clients.

Paul has successfully concluded numerous multi-million dollar injury cases. He acts for injured clients all over BC and Alberta, and will not act for ICBC or any other insurance company.

For a confidential discussion of your injury claim, contact Paul Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or send him a confidential email at [email protected]

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