Winter weather is continuing in a major way in Victoria, leaving many drivers feeling unprepared for venturing out in their vehicles. Hopefully, your vehicle is already prepared with good winter tires. The next step before hitting the road is to make sure you leave lots of time to clear away snow and ice from your car.
“Don’t be that driver who peeks through a small patch of the window while trailing clumps of snow – make sure all windows are completely clear,” says Kate Wells, DriveWise BC. “It may seem like a handy quick fix but it’s a major hazard for you and all other road users.”
Here are some tips and reminders from DriveWise BC to keep you safe and feeling confident behind the wheel.
1. Be visible – daytime running lights only turn on a low beam on the front of your vehicle so turn on your headlights to illuminate your tail lights and help you be seen from the front AND behind.
2. Stopping on ice or snow takes additional time so make sure you leave extra space – at least 4 seconds – of following distance between you and the car in front of you.
3. Move your eyes every few seconds to keep focused on the changing environment. Look at least a block and a half ahead of where you are. This allows you to spot hazards and respond early if necessary.
4. Slow your speed and always assume there could be hazards like clumps of ice under newly fallen snow or black ice on seemingly bare roads.
5. If you skid, stay calm and take your foot off the accelerator – never brake. Shift your car into neutral or put in the clutch in a standard vehicle, this stops the car from accelerating until you can regain control. Then look in the direction you want your vehicle to go and gently steer out of the skid. This happens very quickly and gets much easier with practice!