Winter Driving Hazards You Need to Know About
Driving in the winter can be nerve-wracking, especially for newer drivers who have little to no experience in driving under poor road conditions. However, even the most experienced of drivers may fail to realize the increased responsibility of driving in the winter.
Considering the winters in Canada last more than half the year and can often be unpredictable in terms of weather patterns, Canadians should be prepared, including with the help of dependable auto insurance, to know what to do when road conditions aren’t at their best.
Most people are under the impression that winter driving hazards consist only of poor traction and low visibility. While these are valid concerns, they are not the only hazards you should be worrying about. In this article, you will learn several driving dangers to be aware of, as well as valuable tips to avoid them.
Top 5 Winter Driving Hazards
1. Slippery roads
When rain falls onto roads during below-zero temperatures, an extremely thin layer of ice, otherwise called black ice, can form and make it very difficult for cars to steer without slipping and sliding. Poor traction on the road means brakes aren’t working as well, and you will need to start braking sooner to prevent your car from sliding.
2. Earlier dark times
Any Canadian knows how dark it gets in the late afternoon hours of the winter, especially around 5 p.m. Bright headlights from oncoming traffic can cause you to squint and have trouble seeing ahead of you. Thus, if you are leaving work at this time, you may want to be more cautious in how you drive since driving at night poses more risks having to do with visibility.
3. Decreased ability to see
Before you leave your house in the winter, you will often notice that snow has piled up on top of your car. Windshields covered in snow and ice that have been poorly cleaned or have not fully defrosted yet can pose a serious risk when you are driving on the road.
Another scenario in which visibility is impaired in the winter is during heavy snowstorms. Snowstorms can severely impact your ability to see through your windshield, as it is constantly being covered with snow. When this happens, it is best to not leave your house until the snowstorm has completely subsided in order to avoid any unnecessary collisions.
4. Driving next to a snow plow
During severe snowy weather, snow plows help to remove snow from the road and keep conditions safer for drivers. However, you may want to remain cautious about the way you drive around one. Do not attempt to pass a snow plow, and stay a safe distance away to avoid snow being kicked up onto your windshield, thus obstructing your view.
5. Car problems
Cold weather can take a serious toll on your car’s engine. If you’re not careful about heating up your car in the morning and letting it fully defrost before you start driving, you run the risk of damaging some of its important components. Let your car run idle for 30 seconds before taking it on the road to prevent stress on the engine.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Road
Get Winter Tires
Start Braking Sooner
Clean and Prepare Your Car
Winter tires can greatly improve your car’s traction much better than summer or all-season tires. Although all-season tires are technically meant for the entire year, winter tires are designed specifically for getting you through snowy and icy patches and maintaining a better grip on the road.
This is a no-brainer on icy roads, and yet many people still fail to understand the severity of driving at normal high speeds on roads that still haven’t been cleaned off. In the winter, we recommend that you drive slower than you normally would, whether you have winter tires or not.
On slippery roads, you will need to start pushing the brakes sooner than you normally would to prevent sliding or skidding off the road. When you know you are nearing a stop sign or traffic lights, start braking halfway down the road so you’re not stopping abruptly.
Before you leave the house each morning, use a brush to sweep off all the snow, and scrape the ice off your windshield, mirrors, and windows. You may also want to let your car heat up and defrost any remaining snow or ice that is obstructing your view. Ensure that your visibility is completely clear, and you should be good to go.
Once you know where you will be going, plan your route ahead of time and make sure that there are no obstructions in the way. Check road conditions beforehand, as well as any closures and delays that may impact your travel. If you find that the road conditions are not safe for driving, see if you can switch your plans to another day, if possible.
Of course, the best way to plan ahead would be to invest in quality auto insurance, so that if something does happen while on the road, you are properly prepared to handle it.
Get Your Automobile Insured With Archway Insurance
Investing in auto insurance is one of the many ways to keep yourself safe on the road this winter, as it provides you with financial coverage in the event of an accident or harm done to you or your vehicle. Luckily, our brokers at Archway Insurance are here to guide you by browsing through all the major insurance markets to find the best auto insurance fit for you.
If you are thinking of purchasing auto insurance, then look no further than Archway Insurance to get you the best rates from leading insurance companies. With your safety and well-being in mind, we will guide you toward auto insurance that fits your desired needs so that you can receive the compensation and protection you deserve.
To learn more about purchasing auto insurance in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, call Archway Insurance at 1-833-536-0529 or contact us here.