Date Published: 2024/01/24

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Winter driving: Do you respect the 10 commandments of safe driving?

Modern SUV parked roadside on winter road

No matter a drivers’ experience, Mother Nature always has the last word. Especially in winter.

Here are 10 tips for safe driving. Do you know and respect them?

1. Slow down

In winter, moderate your speeds so that you can see the road and have time to react when it goes from dry to icy or snowy?

2. See and be seen

Out of laziness or because it's cold, do you put less efforts into properly clearing the snow from your vehicle? This can be dangerous for everyone. Windshields and wipers must always be cleared of snow and ice. Headlights must also be completely cleared and cleaned. By the way, it is suggested to clean your headlights with toothpaste. Simply spread toothpaste on the surface and wipe with a dry cloth. An operation that will only take 10 minutes.

3. Avoid distractions

In winter, you have to be extra careful. Avoid distractions such as cell phones, radios, lively discussions with passengers, etc. Your focus should be 100% on the road at all times.

4. Black ice (bridges and overpasses)

The road may seem dry but watch out for black ice. Did you know that that black ice forms more easily  on bridges and overpasses?

5. No cruise control

Why? Precisely because the roadway can go from perfect to hazardous, using you cruise control in the winter is a terrible idea.

6. Control of the vehicle when skidding

Do you know the maneuvers to take in the event of a skid? In its simplest version, it goes like this:

a.    Above all, do not panic!

b.    Look where you want your vehicle to go and steer in this direction.

c.    Do not brake! (Take your foot off the brake if the vehicle starts to skid while braking.)

d.    Do not accelerate!

7. How to get out of a snowbank

If your car gets stuck in the snow, do you know how to get out? Do you have sand or cat litter in your trunk? If so, now is the time to spread it under your traction wheels. Traction grids are even better. Then align the wheels well and accelerate smoothly. Be careful not to oversteer the wheel which could cause them to get stuck further. If necessary, take a shovel to remove snow.

8. Have what you need on board

Are you equipped in case of emergency? Do you have a winter safety kit (blanket, shovel, water, food, jumper cable, emergency flares) as well as a first aid kit?

9. Precautions before leaving

Remember to recharge your phone and refill liquids before each trip far from home!

10. Give news

Tell someone about your travel plans and expected time of arrival. This way, someone is aware that you are travelling and will notice if ever something goes wrong.

Source: Guide de l’auto