Winter weather and icy roads can make driving decidedly more dangerous. In fact, according to the Traffic Accident Information System (TAIS), almost 30% of car accidents in Canada happen on icy or snowy roads. And 5% of these are during a snowfall.
But winter weather doesn’t mean you have to be confined to your home. It merely means that you have to take some extra precautions when driving. Here are four tips to help keep you safe on icy roads this season.
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter.
Winterizing your vehicle can make a huge difference when you are driving on winter roads in Ontario. Once the temperature starts to drop and is consistently below 7 degrees Celsius, it is recommended that you install winter tires. Winter tires differ from so-called all-season tires in that they have deeper treads for better traction on ice and snow. They are made from a softer rubber that doesn’t harden in the cold weather, so they provide for better handling even when roads are dry.
You also want to make sure that you are keeping up with regular maintenance, so you don’t get stranded anywhere. Ensure that your wiper blades and lights are functioning so you can see and be seen – and routinely top up your winter washer fluid, so it’s available when you need it.
- Drive for the conditions to stay safe.
When the roads are slick, or you have reduced visibility due to snow, you need to slow down. It will take you longer to stop on icy roads, so it is important to adjust for that. Furthermore, if you do get into an accident, driving at a reduced speed will help to decrease the severity of the accident.
Also, remember to be gentle on the brakes. Antilock brakes don’t work as well on snow and ice, and braking too vigorously is one of the main factors that will cause your car to slide.
- Learn how to correct in icy conditions.
If you have never taken a driver’s ed course – or if driving during a Canadian winter is new to you, you might want to get some training and learn how to correct in icy conditions. Even experienced drivers can sometimes fishtail or slide when the roads are slick, and knowing what to do can help you avoid getting into an accident.
If your car does start to slide or fishtail, you will need to turn into the slide to correct it, but oversteering can cause your car to go into a spin. A winter driving course can help give you the confidence you need to find the right balance.
- Pay attention to weather advisories.
In Ontario, there are usually a few days every winter that are so treacherous that local law enforcement will advise residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Watch for and listen to these advisories. And if you don’t have to go out, don’t.
The best way to avoid an accident in these conditions is not to be on the roads at all.
Contact Hoffman Law today
At Hoffman Law, we have experience protecting the rights of people who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a vehicular accident, we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today for a no-charge evaluation of your case.