It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog but I had to stop for a moment to let all the dummies we share the road with know the basics of Canadian winter driving. After all, there’s been a consistent sprinkling of flurries over the past week or so and it’s safe to say it’s not letting up anytime soon. I may be crossing the line a little bit here, but I’m taking that chance because some things just need to be said.
Since no one seems to remember how to drive in the snow, I thought I’d take the liberty of writing out 10 Canadian tips for winter driving. Feel free to add your own in the comments – I’m sure I missed some.
- Clear off ALL of your car. Not just your windows. That includes the top of your car. When you don’t, that ends up flying into the view of the car behind you, or worse, covering up your back window making visibility of the vehicles around you super difficult.
- No, your rear defrost does not replace the need to clear the snow off your back window.
- Don’t ride my ass. I’m driving slower than you because I’m more cautious than you. Riding my ass will not make me drive faster, it will only make me anxious. If you’re looking to increase your chances of having an accident, then riding my ass is definitely the way to do it. If you’re not, then back off or go around me. Slowly and safely, of course.
- Winter tires should be mandatory in Ontario. If you don’t have winter tires, you’re pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. You’re not just putting yourself at risk, but also everyone else on the roads next to you. Especially on those extra snow covered days, consider another mode of transportation if you don’t have winter tires. Say, Uber, carpool with a colleague who does have winter tires, or even public transit!
- SLOW DOWN! Having winter tires does not mean you can handle it like a champ. You still need to drive cautiously. I don’t care if you’re driving an F150. Yeah, that’s right Grey/Bruce County. I’m talking about you. Be careful!
- Leave more time/space when you’re breaking to a stop. You never know when that black ice is going to hit. Regardless, you’re scaring the shit out of me when you’re coming up behind me at a red light at a warp nine. Are you going to stop? Am I going to die? Is this the end. Nope, I live another day.
- Switch lanes slowly and steadily. The snow between lanes can easily throw you off course. Even if you think you’ve got it, be cautious anyway. An accident is called an accident for a reason – you don’t expect it to happen.
- You will need extra time to get from A to B. I know, it’s crazy. Don’t expect to have the same 15 minute commute as you did all through the summer. You’ll need 5-10 mins to clean off and warm up your car plus an extra few minutes for slower travel. Don’t push it. If you’re late, you’re late.
- Don’t push your gas gauge. The winter is not the time to test this guy out. Always keep a full tank – never let it empty.
- Keep a survival kit in your car and a warm blanket, just in case. You just never know.
- Bonus: Test out how your car performs in thick snow. Test your breaks on an empty road. Test how your steering reacts in the snow. Know how to handle yourself in the event you do need to avoid an accident.
Rant done. Thanks for listening.
Happy holidays everyone! Let’s all stay safe over Christmas + the new year. 🙂