Tips for safe winter driving

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BIBLE HILL – With upwards of 30 centimetres of snow forecast for this weekend, the Colchester RCMP and CAA Atlantic have some tips on driving safely on icy roads.

“As Atlantic Canadians, it’s essential that we take the necessary precautions to ensure that we and our vehicles are ready for the winter driving season,” said Gary Howard, vice-president of communications for CAA Atlantic, in a news release. “Thinking and planning ahead can be the key to avoiding a roadside breakdown or a more dangerous situation.”

To be prepared for winter driving conditions CAA recommends the following:

 Let others know your itinerary before you go out on the road.

 Strongly consider putting winter tires on your vehicle, regardless of your area’s snow accumulation. Rubber in all-season tires starts to lose elasticity and harden at around 7°C, significantly reducing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires harden around -40°C, allowing them to maintain elasticity in much colder temperatures.

 Carry a fully-charged cellphone to call a friend or roadside assistance if needed.

 Take your car into your local service technician to have it maintained for the seasonal transition. This service can include having your battery inspected for wear before the start of the season and ensuring the right grade of oil in your vehicle for optimal winter use.

 “Canadians should also invest the time in preparing a winter driving kit for their vehicle,” said Howard. “The absence of a winter driving kit tells us people aren’t as prepared as they should be. Winter driving kits help make sure an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a tragedy.”

Suggested contents of a winter driving kit include:

 Warm winter gloves, toque and boots

 Blanket or extra clothing

 Bag of sand or kitty litter

 Small shovel

 Ice scraper and/or snow brush

 Snacks for energy

 Extra windshield washer fluid

 First aid kit

 Hardcopy local map (not just a GPS unit)

 Flashlight and batteries

 Flares and waterproof matches

As for being out on the roads, the Colchester RCMP has numerous tips:

· Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

· Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

· Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

· Keep your lights and windshield clean.

· Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

· Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

· Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently travelled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

· Don’t pass snow plows and salt trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.

· Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.


Organizations: CAA

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