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How to Drive in Icy Conditions
The winter season can be a treacherous time for driving. There are many times when conditions become poor, and it is essential to know the proper steps to take to drive safely. In Canada, winter conditions accompanied by ice and snowfall can make roads very dangerous if not handled properly. Driving during this kind of weather condition can be tricky, but drivers of any skill level can adjust their techniques to remain safe on the road with the right information.
Here is How to Drive in Icy Conditions
Step 1: Slow Down
When roads are covered in ice or snow, it is important to reduce your speed drastically. If you are driving 50km/h on a clear road, this new number should drop to a maximum of 30km/h.
Step 2: Leave More Room Between Cars
When traveling on snow-covered roads, leaving more room between you and the car ahead of you is important, as cars can slip or skid more easily during winter conditions. Leaving a more generous gap between yourself and the car in front allows you more time to stop if they should happen to slip or skid.
Step 3: Keep a Distance Between You and the Car in Front of You
When driving, keep a distance between the car in front of you and yourself that is at least double what you would normally leave. This allows for enough space to stop your vehicle if the car in front stops suddenly.
Step 4: Keep Yourself Warm and Dry
It is important to ensure that you are wearing warm clothing when driving during the winter, as it is easy for your hands and feet to become numb in cold weather. Ensure that any pair of gloves or shoes you wear while traveling in winter conditions will not make your grip on the steering wheel or other controls lose. It is also important to stay hydrated while traveling in winter conditions, as it can be easy to become dehydrated if you are constantly breathing in the cold air.
Step 5: Read the Road and Know Your Limits
Before venturing out on a snowy or icy road, read the conditions of the road and make a judgment call as to whether or not you will be able to handle it. If you are unsure of your ability, play it safe and find an alternate route.
Step 6: Safe Driving Techniques
When snow conditions are very poor, continue to drive at the same slow speeds as listed above. However, there are some techniques to use to maintain control of your vehicle. If the car in front of you begins to skid, avoid braking suddenly, as this can cause your vehicle to slide. Instead, slowly apply pressure on your brakes until you regain control over the vehicle. To turn when driving on ice or snow-covered roads, gently steer into the direction you would like to travel. This will give you the best possible chance of maintaining control over your vehicle, so long as you are driving slowly and applying gentle pressure to the steering wheel at all times.
Step 7: When All Else Fails, Find Alternate Route
If none of these safe driving techniques work in winter conditions, do not try to continue driving on the road. Find alternate routes until the roads are clear and safe to drive on again.
Driving in winter conditions can be a task filled with obstacles. Still, through proper knowledge of safe driving techniques and knowing your limits as a driver, you will be able to safely navigate these challenging conditions.