11 winter driving tips to keep safe!

Whether we like it or not, winter has already come to Saskatchewan before Halloween! We are  already seeing some snowfall throughout the province and have left some motorists being unprepared.

Get your vehicle and mindset ready to do everything you can to keep safe on the roads this winter.

We are asking all drivers to be our safety partners this winter. Help us keep our roads safe by preparing your vehicle and by planning your trip ahead and by slowing down in winter conditions.

Winter Driving can sometimes be a daunting experience, here are a few tips you may consider:

1. Create a ‘survival kit’

Your survival kit should include items such as: gloves, warm clothing, booster cables, small shovel, windshield wiper fluid, first aid kit, torch, snow brush, candles, lighter, safety vest, water bottles and non-perishable energy foods.

Put the kit in the trunk of your car and keep it there.

2. Check weather and road conditions often

Choose the route you’ll take ahead of time and check the weather forecast to make sure you know what to expect before you hit the road.

Saskatchewan Road hotline is a great resource and includes a real time map of road conditions.

3. Keep a safe distance behind snow plows

If you find yourself behind a snow plow, maintain a safe distance. Snow plow drivers do not always have the best visibility and can create clouds of snow that can reduce your visibility, as well.

4. If you don’t already have them, get winter tires

They provide better traction, handling and braking and can shorten your braking distance by as much as 25 per cent. All-season tires are not the same as winter tires. They lose their grip when the temperature dips below 7 C.

Drivers with winter tires are also eligible for an insurance discount starting Jan. 1, 2016.

5. Slow down and give yourself extra travel time

This one might be obvious — but it’s important. Drive according to the road conditions around you and don’t rely on the estimated time of arrival your GPS gives you.

6. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle

Make sure you clean all windows, mirrors, lights and the roof. Wait for any foggy windows to clear up so your visibility isn’t poor.

7. Wear comfortable clothes

It’s a good idea to layer up in the winter time, but having too many layers can restrict your movement and make it difficult to check your blind spot.

8. Keep a full gas tank

It can help reduce moisture in the fuel system and also adds extra weight to your vehicle to slow it down.

9. Keep a fully-charged cellphone and travel with a charger.

Being stranded on the side of the road can be daunting. Make sure you have your emergency numbers ready along with CAA and Emergency Highway hotlines.

10. Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads

It’s easy to lose control of your vehicle in bad weather if you rely on cruise control.

If driving conditions are really bad, or in the event of a serious ice storm or blizzard — just avoid driving altogether.

11. Figure out the best way to recover from a skid for your vehicle

How your vehicle responds to a skid depends on whether or not it has rear wheel, front wheel or four wheel drive. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), learn how to use it correctly.

Check out this Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) brochure to figure out what will work best for your vehicle.