Winter is right around the corner, meaning soon the roads will be covered in ice and snow. According to Transport Canada, environmental factors such as adverse weather contributed to 18% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in Canada in 2021. The RCMP reported that in 2017, nearly 30% of collisions reported to the National Collision Database happened on wet, snowy or icy roads, and 1/3 happened in January, February, November and December.
Since bad weather is a recipe for accidents, it’s more important during this time to drive safely and prepare for the worst. Here are some helpful tips:
BUY WINTER TIRES
When the temperatures dip, winter tires offer superior traction, braking and cornering in all cold weather driving conditions. Winter tires have deeper grooves and irregular edges that improve traction on dry, wet, icy, or snow-covered roads. 76% of drivers who drive a car equipped with winter tires say that their winter tires have saved them from being involved in a potentially hazardous driving situation.
DRIVE SLOW AND SAFE
Snow and ice are more slippery at 0 C than at -20 C or below, and black ice can be present on roads with temperatures between 4 C and -4 C, according to Transport Canada. To avoid skidding, drive smoothly and controlled (no cruise control!) and brake and turn gently.
SHARE THE ROAD
It takes longer to stop on icy roads, so slow down and leave extra room between yourself and others. This allows you and other drivers more time to react. Be patient and avoid passing snowplows – in fact, stay at least 10 cars lengths from active plows on the road.
Keep a winter safety kit in your vehicle! This should include the following items:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Warm blanket
- Water bottles
- Booster cables
- First-Aid kit
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- BONUS: Road flares and sand or cat litter (this helps with traction!)
TAKE ACTION – TAKE THE ROAD SMARTS PLEDGE
Don’t wait for tragedy to strike before you change your road habits. Taking the Road SMARTS Pledge enables every road user to promise to do their part to prevent road fatalities and create safer communities.
By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced.