Keep Yourself, Your Vehicle, and Others on the Road Protected this Winter with Ontario Auto Insurance and These Driver Safety Tips
Ontario’s winter driving conditions are challenging and often quite hazardous. From black ice to poor visibility in heavy snowfalls, Ontario drivers must be extra cautious during this dangerous driving season. Part of being cautious is being prepared. Along with protecting your vehicle from costly accidents with Ontario auto insurance, you can also protect yourself, your vehicle, and other drivers on the road with these safety tips for winter driving.
Pack Survival Kits
Before you even start driving in the winter, you should equip your car with safety and survival items. These will help you in case you get stuck on the side of the road during harsh winter weather.
Items to Keep in Your Vehicle
- A blanket, or a safety blanket;
- A first aid kit;
- A flashlight;
- An ice scraper and snow brush;
- Water bottles; and,
- Non-perishable energy foods.
Items to Keep in Your Trunk
- Extra clothing and footwear;
- A torch;
- Survival candles;
- A warning light or road flares;
- A reflective safety vest;
- Booster cables;
- Windshield wiper fluid;
- Fuel line antifreeze;
- A fire extinguisher;
- A shovel;
- Sand or cat litter;
- Traction mats;
- A compass;
- A tow chain; and,
- An emergency food pack.
Make Your Vehicle Winter-Ready
With a professional vehicle checkup and winter-tire installation, you can ensure your vehicle will perform well even in the worst weather conditions. Make sure the following are in excellent condition before going on the road:
- Ignition system;
- Exhaust system;
- Heating and cooling system; and,
- Windshield wipers.
Clear Ice & Snow from Your Vehicle
Even if you’re in a rush in the morning, it’s important to clear all ice and snow from your vehicle before hitting the road. If left on, snow and ice can impede your visibility and also fly off your vehicle while you’re driving. This poses the risk of snow and ice sheets landing on other cars, possibly blocking another driver’s visibility, thus increasing the risk of accidents. You can clear off your car while it’s warming up and help contribute to safer driving conditions for everyone on the road.
Check Weather & Road Conditions
By staying up to date with the weather, you can plan ahead for your travel time and routes. If road conditions are bad and you don’t have to go out that day, then plan to go out when the weather is safer. But if you do need to drive, inform someone of your planned route and arrival time, and give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Everyone must slow down while driving in winter, and bad road conditions can make travel time even more delayed—especially when there are snow plows on the road.
If you ever feel like the weather is too dangerous to drive in, turn back or find a safe place to stop and wait for the weather to improve. If you must stop along the side of the road, pull over as far as you can and exit your vehicle from the passenger side. Remember to turn on your emergency flashers.
Dress Warm & Comfortably
Drivers may not think to bundle up if they’re just going from their homes to their cars. But you should always dress in warm clothes, boots, and outerwear that won’t restrict movement. You will be glad you did if your car gets stuck on the side of the road and you need to bear the harsh cold while digging out your tires or waiting for help to arrive.
Always Keep A Full Tank of Gas
A full gas tank will give you peace of mind when driving in bad weather. It will reduce moisture in your fuel system while adding extra weight to your vehicle, making driving easier in windy, snowy, and slippery conditions. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about running out of gas in a snowstorm, especially if you have to drive for longer in poor weather.
Keep a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles
Although this driving rule applies in all seasons, it’s especially important during the winter. Drivers are more likely to get into accidents from icy road conditions because they may experience trouble braking and end up skidding. Make sure you know how to safely recover from skidding with your car and stay a safe distance away from other vehicles so you will be at less risk of accidents.
Also be on alert and drive a safe distance when behind snow plows. Snow plow drivers may not have the best visibility of surrounding vehicles, and clouds of snow from the plow could also compromise your visibility.
Keep Your Cell Phone Charged
In case of an emergency, pull over and call for help with your mobile phone. If you are trapped in a snow bank or stuck in a storm and the temperature is dangerously cold, avoid doing any heavy lifting, pushing, or shoveling, and leave this work to the pros. Although one important thing you must do is make sure your tailpipe isn’t blocked by snow—this will prevent carbon monoxide from entering your vehicle.
If your vehicle isn’t at risk of being hit by other drivers, remain inside while you wait for help. During this wait:
- Slightly open a window that is not facing the wind;
- Keep warm clothing on, especially a hat;
- Use a survival candle for heat;
- Only run your motor when necessary;
- Set out flares or a warning light;
- Use your dome light instead of your headlights;
- Move your arms and legs frequently;
- Stay awake; and,
- Keep an eye out for traffic and searchers.
Although you should avoid driving in bad winter conditions, sometimes it’s unavoidable. So keep these tips in mind if you must brave the hazardous roads, and make sure you have auto insurance in Ontario to protect your vehicle from the high costs of accidents. By being prepared and cautious, you can keep yourself, your vehicle, and other drivers safer on the roads.