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Driving Tips: 5 Top Tips for Safe Winter Driving

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This information is designed for informational and educational purposes only. See your local Goodwrench Service dealer for any specific questions you may have regarding your vehicle.

Wake up in the morning to a picture perfect scene of fresh glistening snow and it's easy to see why winter is often thought of as the most wonderful season of all. But below this beautiful blanket of pristine snow lies the hazards of winter driving. Here are five useful defensive driving tips to help you navigate the perils of snow, ice, sleet and slush. You'll also learn about the safety advantages of installing winter tires.

Check weather conditions

Don't take chances with the weather. Mother Nature can be unpredictable and unforgiving. Be sure to check current conditions as well as the forecast before heading out. Visit your forecast page for local weather reports and warnings. Better to delay your departure or cancel your trip than to risk being caught on the road in deteriorating and dangerous conditions.

Did you know?
All-season tires start to harden and become less effective at 7°C.1 Winter tires only begin to harden around -30°C.

Take it slow and leave space

On snow-covered roads and highways, all vehicles take longer to stop. That's why it's important to slow down to match the conditions of the road and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead. Use the four-second rule as a guide. Pick a marker on the road and when the rear of the vehicle ahead passes it start counting "one thousand and one, one thousand and two...". Stop counting when the front of your vehicle reaches the marker. If you reach the marker before "one thousand and four," you're following too close.

Did you know?
Keeping your winter tires on throughout the warmer months will greatly reduce the life of your tires and they will not provide you with the same traction as summer or all-season tires.

Regaining control of your vehicle in a skid

A skid usually occurs when your tires lose traction on a slippery surface. Most skids are a result of driving too fast for the road conditions. To help you regain control once in a skid, steer in the direction of the skid. This is done by looking where you want your vehicle to go and then steering towards that spot. If the skid is caused by braking, it can also help to take your foot of the brake pedal and gently accelerate while steering into the skid. Above all, stay calm.

Did you know?
The moisture in tire valves can freeze if the valve cap is left off. This can result in a dramatic reduction in air pressure.

Safe winter braking

To help avoid sudden braking, look as far ahead as possible to anticipate potential problems and hazzards. Keep in mind that anti-lock brakes (ABS) may not help you to stop faster. When you hit your ABS brakes quick and hard in an emergency, you'll feel the rapidly pulsing brake pedal. This is a good thing because it's an indicator that your brakes are not preventing your tires from rolling. This provides greater control and steering ability.

Did you know?
Depending on speed and type of vehicle, winter tires in good condition can help shorten braking distances by as much as 25%.2

See and be seen

Improve your visibility by removing all snow and ice from your vehicle's windows, lights, hood, mirror and roof. Once you start your engine, use your front and rear defrosters to clear the fog from the interior. If you need to pull over by the side of the road or if visibility is reduced by falling snow, put on your emergency flashers so that other drivers can see you. And it's always a wise decision to carry an extra jug of winter windshield wiper fluid in your trunk.

Did you know?
The snowflake-on-the-mountain symbol identifies tires that meet the Rubber Association of Canada snow traction performance requirements.



1 http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/topics/wintertires.shtml
2 Transport Quebec Safety Tips



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