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5 tips for safe driving this winter

Drivers throughout Ontario understand that the winter months often mean a dangerous increase in commuter traffic as well as the added hazards that accompany poor weather. Fortunately, there are certain steps commuters can take to reduce the dangers they face on highways and city streets.

The Ministry of Transportation suggests numerous tips designed to keep drivers safer during the frigid cold and slick, snow-covered commutes, including:

  • Keep a winter survival kit in the vehicle: Past experience and the amount of time spent in the vehicle will likely influence the contents of a survival kit. Drivers are encouraged to include items such as hand warmers, foot warmers, an extra jacket, a blanket and a safety vest. Additionally, people can include rations such as water and non-perishable energy bars. Functional items such as a flashlight, collapsible shovel, a first aid kit and cat litter could also be stored in the vehicle.
  • Be careful around snow plows: Snow removal units are enormous and can directly impact the safety of the road. Drivers must keep a safe distance behind them and should never attempt to pass them as the billowing snow can reduce visibility and lead to slippery roads.
  • Keep fluids topped off, including fuel: In winter months more than others, drivers will regret facing mechanical failure in their vehicles. From low oil pressure and low wiper fluid to running out of gas, drivers can find themselves in precarious situations when the temperature runs cold.
  • Avoid distractions: While this advice is always important, it is especially worthwhile when the weather turns bad. Phone calls, personal grooming, drinking, and snacking can all wait until the trip is completed.
  • Pay attention to your tires: From ensuring you have installed winter or all-weather tires to keeping your tire pressure at the correct level, drivers must focus significant attention on their vehicle’s safe operation.

A motor vehicle collision can result in devastating injuries. Vehicle occupants can suffer traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, amputations or crush injuries. People face additional challenges if the collision occurs in sub-freezing temperatures. The danger of hypothermia or frostbite can have catastrophic results in the frigid winter months.