Biggest Blunders in Winter Driving
November 5, 2014
Surrey may not be known for harsh winters. In fact, when people from out of province think about British Columbia, the first image that pops into their heads is usually a rainy one – but we know that’s not always the case.
Surrey gets its fair share of snow and ice and at times, can rival any winter wonderland in terms of picturesque scenery – and unfortunately, terrible driving conditions. Because it’s not treacherous on the roads all winter long, drivers are often unprepared for those blustery, snow-heavy days when cautious driving is so essential.
While getting caught off guard by winter may keep your local automotive service technician busy, it’s always best for drivers to think prevention and do whatever is necessary to avoid accidents on the road. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest blunders winter drivers make in Surrey (and anywhere else there is snow):
Driving Fast and Unprepared
You may not consider yourself a fast driver or a reckless one. In fact, you may always follow the speed limit and never take needless risks. You’re so professional at navigating the roads that your friends may suspect you’ve taken mechanic courses and are secretly pursuing an auto career. Unfortunately, when the view in front of you is littered with snowflakes and the ground beneath your tires may turn into ice at any moment, driving the speed limit becomes itself a needless risk.
To be safe, you’ll need to take things slower than you may be used to, and properly assess the conditions and your situation as you drive. It’s also important to learn about road conditions before you get behind the wheel. Check it out online or catch the latest update on the radio before you leave – just make sure you’re using your eyes when you’re already on the road. Checking a smartphone for weather updates while driving is bad at any time, but even more so when the conditions are risky.
Clearing a car of snow in the winter isn’t a pleasant experience, especially when time is a factor. Unfortunately, some drivers do only the bare minimum, which can lead to entirely preventable accidents.
Just dusting off the front and back window isn’t enough. You need to completely brush off all lights, windows and mirrors to give you complete visibility, which in turn lets other drivers see you. Also thoroughly clearing off the hood means less snow blowing up onto the windshield as you drive.
If you’re not used to winter driving, it may be a nerve-wracking experience. Even experienced drivers sometimes get stressed and tense up behind the wheel.
If you’re too jerky with the controls and over-compensate for bad conditions, you could actually increase your risk of an accident. No matter what you’re up against, smooth driving is essential, so take a deep breath and keep it cool – or wait until conditions clear before hitting the road.
Wearing Winter Clothes Behind the Wheel
This may not be the most intuitive tip on our winter driving list, but experts say that you really shouldn’t be wearing your winter coat and boots when you drive. Heavy jackets weigh down a driver’s arms during moments when agility is essential, while boots sometimes make it very difficult to know how hard you’re pressing on the pedals or whether you’re pressing on them at all.
A change of shoes and a warm sweater is a good idea, and so is taking advantage of your car’s heater. Since some heaters take time to kick in, we suggest firing it up while clearing all the snow off your car – and then things will be nice and toasty when you’re ready to leave.
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