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winter_driving_tips

Winter Driving Tips from Grimsby Ford!

Getting
Prepared!

The first step and the most obvious step is to ensure
your vehicle is equipped with winter tires. There are serious safety benefits to having tires and
they have been proven by experts. Don't be that person on the road causing accidents and taking the
risk. Yes, tires can be expensive, but isn't it worth the investment? Ultimately, we'll leave that
decision up to you!


Next, we're going to remind you about the
ever-popular safety kit. How many news channels, car/insurance companies, newspapers (and more)
have advised you to get your safety kit ready as soon as the first snowfall? Well, there's a
reason. It's beneficial for you, and anyone you cart around in your vehicle, to have a winter
safety kit on hand.



Your kit should include (but not limited to):


  • Food that won't spoil
    (granola bars, etc)
  • Water (plastic bottles that won't freeze)
  • Blanket
  • Extra Clothing (including shoes/boots)
  • First Aid Kit with seat belt cutter
  • Small shovel, snow brush and scrape
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Wind-up flashlight
  • Whistle (in case you need to
    attract attention)
  • Roadmaps


These emergency winter safety kits can easily be made by
yourself from collecting each item, OR you can often find them at stores like Canadian Tire for
around $50.


Tackling The
Elements



Blizzards








If it's blizzarding, don't go out driving if you don't
have to. With a combination of falling snow, the "white stuff" can be
drifting and blowing all over the road, reducing your visibility. Check
a local weather website for visibility stats. If the wind is around
40-50k (which isn't hard in Grimsby) and visibility reports are less
than 1 Kilometre, avoid driving.



As always, be sure to use caution and drive extremely
slow if you MUST travel in a blizzard.




Heavy Snow Fall





Sometimes you may be driving and big chunks of snow begin
falling. Not to panic! Unless it's over 10cm of snow and the snow plows haven't been out to
clear the roads, you should be able to navigate your vehicle skillfully. Make use of vehicle
features like four-wheel-drive, anti-lock brakes, and traction control if that's an option for
you and is necessary to get out of snowy situations.


We hope you don't get caught driving in freezing rain
or have to go out after a fresh downpour. If you can, try to avoid driving in these conditions.
It will create some really slippery driving conditions and make your knuckles turn white from
gripping your steering wheel tightly.

In these
conditions, we recommend using traction control which is a button that usually looks like
this:

Traction
Control is a handy feature that uses the anti-lock brake sensors at the wheels to determine
if a wheel is slipping. If it detects that one wheel is going faster than the others, it
applies the brake to that wheel until it regains traction. It helps keep your car from
slipping around in wet conditions.


Be mindful of strong winds on open roads (try to take
service roads/highways if possible) and use your best judgement to keep your vehicle steady
in your lane. Also, keep in mind that strong wind can make icy roads even icier and can turn
a snowfall into a full-blown blizzard. We recommend checking the weather before driving if
you're concerned about high winds during your commute.


Black
Ice


This is
one of the trickier conditions to drive through. Black ice is a thin layer of ice on a road
that can be difficult to see and can make the road look (more) black and shiny. The road
freezes more quickly in shaded areas (under bridges and on overpasses) when it's cold. The
worst part? These areas remain frozen long after the sun has risen. If you run into black
ice, stay calm. Keep the steering wheel straight and DO NOT hit the brakes. Ease off the gas
pedal and place your vehicle in neutral or shift into a lower gear to gain more control.
Steer your car in the direction you want to go, and you'll be fine!

Ah, slush! We don't know anyone who likes this stuff. It
makes everything dirty, whether it's your vehicle or your shoes. It's simply unavoidable!
This often happens when the temperature rises and snow begins to melt and mix in with dirt
and sand. Keep an eye out for heavy slush that can build up in your vehicle's wheel wells.
This can greatly affect your ability to steer. Be extra cautious around buses and large
trucks as they can blow slush and snow onto your windshield and cause you to panic for a few
seconds.

Take Away

Our number one piece of advice is to SLOW DOWN.
Winter driving is all about going slow.

  • Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front
    of you
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Know your brakes
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on slippery
    conditions (wet, ice, sand)

Don't go out! If you really don't have to go out,
don't! Even if you think you can drive well in the snowy conditions, not everyone
else can!

There's Snow Place Like Home

We hope our tips will help keep you safe on the road
this winter, no matter what the conditions are. Use these as a guide and remember to
just use common sense. It you're ever feeling scared, try to pull over or stop in a
parking lot and ride the storm out with your hazards on. Stay safe out there and if your
vehicle is feeling under prepared for winter, give us a call! 905-945-4171