Prepare for Winter Road Conditions: Freshen Up Your Driving Skills

Like every winter here in Barrie, conditions can get quite detrimental, especially if you fail to drive with caution and adapt to the snowy/icy roads. Each winter, you hear about collisions occurring on a regular basis.  While in many situations your car insurance policy will cover damage, there are always situations where drivers will lose control and hit a snow bank because of poor road conditions; this may be a scenario that’s viewed as an “at fault accident”. In either case, it’s best to be prepared

Bottom line, winter collisions can be prevented… Sure, you can’t control drivers around you but you can control your driving skills. A pro-active approach? Obtain the appropriate car insurance, and strengthen your winter driving skills! Being a confident driver in blustery winter weather will limit the risk of an accident

If weather conditions are poor, but you must travel:

  • Reduce your speed! Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions and even when maintenance crews have passed, salt doesn’t always work efficiently, especially when temperatures hit below -11 C.
  • When approaching bridges, overpasses, tunnels, and intersections where ice is common, slow down considerably.
  • Start in second gear if you drive manual
  • Avoid using cruise control as it can be risky in winter weather
  • Increase your following distance for added safety. To ensure you’re following at a good distance, choose a reference point and when the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes that point, count the seconds it takes your vehicle to reach it. If it takes you under four seconds, you’re driving too fast.
  • Maintain a smooth drive. Accelerate slowly and brake slowly. Don’t make any sudden movements; this will prevent sliding.
  • Keep in mind that a good driver will anticipate problems, avoiding them before they happen.

If you begin to skid…

  • Remove your foot off the gas
  • Disengage the motor if you’re able to: declutch if you have a manual transmission, or put your vehicle into neutral if you drive an automatic.
  • Brake: If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), refrain from “pumping” them. Instead, hold the pedal down as far as you’re able to. You will notice vibrating until your vehicle has come to a complete stop…this is completely normal. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes (ABS) gradually apply pressure to the pedal, but whatever you do, do not slam the brakes. Release and repeat, slowly enough that your wheels don’t lock, but fast enough that your speed decreases effectively.
  • Look and steer smoothly in the direction you’re heading in.
  • Turn on your four-way flashers if conditions are worsening.

At the end of the day, the wisest thing to remember as a driver is to take your time, slow down, keep calm and try to anticipate every possibility.

For more winter driving tips, or for information on car insurance in Barrie, Orillia or Simcoe County, call Will Marshall Insurance Brokers ltd, 705-726-2551.

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