Ottawa Safe Winter Driving Tips From Canadian Towing Service

canadian towing tow truck in Ottawa during winter

Winter is here whether we like or not, and in many parts of Canada, there is a lot of snow already dusting the roads. Safe driving is an important part of being on the road, but drivers need to pay special attention to road conditions during the winter and inclement weather to make sure everyone has a safe trip. In the winter, driving is much more hazardous owing in part to the longer periods of darkness, and the varied forms of extreme weather that are often seen in the Ottawa area. Over the last few years, there have been several instances of floods and extended heavy snowfall. 

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Winter road conditions are much different than any other time of year, as such, it’s important for drivers to take steps to prepare themselves every time they hit the road. One of the first things you should do to help keep the roads free of collision is to plan your trip ahead to allow you enough time to drive at a moderate to slow pace. Travel through different areas of the country at times can expose you to diverse weather conditions that affect the road, and therefore you will need to be able to adapt your driving methods accordingly.  In the event of extreme weather, you should avoid driving at all, so if you are determined to hit the road this winter, we hope you will find our winter driving tips useful.

Be Prepared

You never know what conditions you will face on the road, so it’s best to prepare for most of them. Make sure you have a kit in the back of your car or truck that contains items such as; jumper cables, a first aid kit, water bottles, a safety vest, candles, a snow brush, a portable shovel, and winter gloves. Aside from having a road-ready weather kit, make sure you prepare yourself by checking the local news for updates on the road conditions and weather patterns along the route you plan to travel.

Weather Proofing

Though you can’t really weatherproof everything, you can get your car in the best possible shape to handle slippery roads. Make sure your vehicle is outfitted with winter tires, which are different than your average tire. Winter tires have a stronger grip on the road, which provides better traction braking and handling on icy roads. In many cases, it can even reduce the amount of distance it takes your car to slow down by as much as 25%. Of course, you also get an insurance discount when you install winter tires on your car. Always clear the ice, snow, and fog from your care before you get on the road. Visibility is very important in the winter, so make sure your mirrors, lights, and from & back windshields are completely clear prior to departure.

Road Safety

When the roads are full of snow, it’s tempting to ease the strain by driving directly behind the city snowplows. It’s very important that you maintain a safe distance from the plows since they have a limited range of visibility, and more often than not, tend to throw clouds of snow or sleet that can make it harder for you to see the road. Make sure your tank is full so that you don't get stuck on the side or the road, and it also reduces the amount of moisture in your car's system, which can make it harder to handle in the winter. Cruise control is commonly used in good weather on long stretches of road, but it’s actually dangerous during the winter. Always maintain full control of the wheel so that in the event you do hit a slippy patch on the road, you can manually control your ABS system to recover properly from a skid.

It’s always a good idea to limit your travel when the weather is bad, but if there is no way to avoid the roads, then we here at Canadian Towing Service hope that you will put our tips to good use so you have a safe trip, and a safe winter.  

If you are interested in more Winter Drivings Tips, check out this Ottawa Police article or this article from the Ottawa Citizen.

Things Happen

Even if you follow every safe winter driving tip religiously, chances are you are still going to run into some trouble now and again, whether it be a flat-tire or someone rear-ending with you. Don't sweat it - if you do get stuck in a bind, just give us a call

Eric B