By KELSEY HEELEY
With winter here that means snow, ice and slush will be making the roads slippery and harder to drive on. Learning how to drive safely in winter is important because your driving not only affects you, but the other drivers on the roads too.
According to www.mto.gov.on.ca, there are three things you need to know about winter driving. One is to stay alert because weather conditions can quickly change, putting more demands on your driving skills and vehicle. Secondly, slow down. Driving according to the weather condition is one of the smartest things you can do. Lastly, stay in control by making sure you know how to properly handle your vehicle in all weather conditions.
Properly controlling your vehicle can be the difference in whether or not you skid into the middle of an intersection or four-way stop. When approaching a red light or stop sign, braking earlier than you normally would is always a good idea.
If the road is too slippery and you go into a skid, you need to regain control of your vehicle as soon as possible. Once you’re in the skid, steering into the direction of the skid can help stop you. To accomplish this, you’re suppose to look where you want the vehicle to go and steer toward that spot, being careful not to over steer.
It is also recommended that you carry a winter survival kit because it can mean the difference between life and death, especially in cases where you’re stranded in a remote location. Some items to include in the kit are: an ice scraper or snow brush, a small-folding shovel, sand or road salt (or cat litter), a rope or chain for towing, booster cables, a cell-phone charger, road flares or warning lights, gas line antifreeze, LED flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a small tool kit, extra warm winter clothes and foot wear, a couple of blankets, a Swiss army knife, matches, candles and non-perishable energy foods such as granola bars, bottles of water, juice boxes and dried fruits.
Christina Tibbitts, a former York Region Transit driver, said, “You have to make sure all your windows and mirrors are clear of snow and ice before you go anywhere. In the winter, having maximum visibility is important.”
Tibbitts also said to slow down and look at the traffic that is farther ahead.
“With no doubt, other drivers may get irritated then decide to go around you and speed ahead, if you’re not going the speed limit, even in the winter. But that’s reckless because of how slippery roads get in the winter,” she said. “Let them go ahead, it’s safer to go slow and take your time getting to your destination. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.”