Winter Driving: Essential Road Safety Tips for Ontario Drivers
1. Check your vehicle
Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up. Carry an ice scraper and washer fluid effective to -40oC. Keep your fuel tank at least half full. Consider installing four winter tires. You’re eligible for an auto insurance discount if you use them!
2. Plan ahead, use your judgment
Plan your trip, locate your stops and check the weather.
Check road conditions and closures on the MTO website, Twitter account or call 511 for hands- free voice-activated service. Use your judgment too—delaying your trip may be the best option. If you’re on the road when conditions worsen, find a safe place to pull well off and wait.
3. Be prepared
Have emergency supplies with you: a charged cell phone, non-perishable food, water, fashlight, blanket, warm clothes, jumper cables, shovel and traction mats or sand.
4. Slow down, stay alert and in control
Many winter collisions occur because drivers are going too fast for road conditions. Slow down and allow extra space between you and other vehicles.
Focus on your driving and put away cell phones and other distractions. Look for reflections on the road – what looks like water may actually be ice.
5. Steer gently on curves and in slippery conditions
Hard braking, quick acceleration and abrupt gear changes can cause you to skid. Avoid using cruise control on wet, snowy or icy pavement as it reduces your reaction time and vehicle control. If you do skid, release your brakes and steer in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to over steer.
5. Share the road and watch for snowplows
Avoid crowding into the lane of on-coming traffic. This can result in head-on collisions.
Drive slowly near working snowplows and don’t pass them – it’s dangerous. Be patient and give them room. They will pull off once they reach the end of their route.
6. Obey road closures
Do not drive on closed roads – it’s against the law. Always obey emergency closure signs and follow the directions of police officers. Remember – the roads are closed for your safety!