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Winter Driving Safety TipsDecember 11th, 2013 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice | 10
Were you prepared for the Lower Mainland’s recent snow? Perhaps, like most Canadians, you feel comfortable with all-season tires in cold weather. They are, after all, designed for all seasons.
But did you know that the rubber in all-season tires loses elasticity and grip at +7 degrees Celsius? A winter tire performs better at -40 C than an all-season at +4 C. Yet, only 43 per cent of Canadians, outside of Quebec, bother changing tires for winter. And a few souls still drive with summer tires. They’re usually the ones spinning out of control when there’s only a dusting of snow.
Here are a few tips for keeping your grip on snowy roads:
- Buy four snow tires. Consult your manufacturer’s guidelines and tell your retailer what kind of road and weather conditions you expect.
- Don’t mix tires. Use the same tread pattern, internal construction and size.
- Monitor tread wear. Bald tires of any type won’t help you.
- Ensure proper air pressure. Underinflated tires have poorer handling and less grip.
Even with proper tires, you may still get stuck in the snow. ICBC has this advice on how to get out safely:
- Be aware of traffic as you get out of your vehicle.
- Determine if you can get your vehicle unstuck on your own or if you’ll need help.
- Clean the snow away from the wheels that propel the vehicle (e.g. front wheels for a front-wheel-drive car).
- Increase the traction in front of your drive wheels using traction mats, old carpets, salt, sand or cat litter.
- When you are ready to attempt to get unstuck, make sure it is safe to do so.
- Accelerate the vehicle gently. Hitting the accelerator will cause the tires to spin and will only make the situation worse.
- If this doesn’t work, try gently rocking the vehicle back and forth by shifting from forward to reverse, gradually increasing the distance travelled with each rock.
Check your owner’s manual — if the instructions are different from what is written above, you should follow the steps as outlined in the manual.
As the snow turns to slush and plain old rain, this is a good time to prepare for the next cold snap. Before you wind up spinning your wheels in a ditch.
For more information on winter tires and driving safety, check out:
Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2012
Winter Tire Safety Tips, Transport Canada
Winter Driving, ICBC
Buying Better Tires, ICBC
Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.
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