Winter Driving Tips from ICBC
The forecast is for wintery weather this week. Snow and below freezing temperatures can make driving treacherous. Be prepared by making sure that you have winter tires installed on your car. When you are out on the road, keep in mind these tips posted on ICBC’s website:
- If your car hydroplanes, ease off on the accelerator and keep steering in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake. Hydroplaning happens when the tires lose contact with the road surface and float on a film of water.
- If you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake as this will make the situation worse. You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times until you gain control of your car. Black ice is commonly found on roads with shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections where car exhaust and packed snow freeze quickly. Black ice may not be visible.
- Adjust for conditions. Potholes can be another hazard during cold and wet weather. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance. The more time you have to react to any hazard the better.
AAA Exchange has published the following tips for driving in the snow on their website:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stop light. Remember: it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertial going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
If you are involved in a car accident, make sure that you call a lawyer experienced in car accidents before you call ICBC.