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Winter Driving Safety Tips

  • January 17, 2017
  • by Will Davidson LLP
  • car accident, car accident lawyer, ontario car accident lawyer, Personal Injury Lawyer, road safety, Will Davidson LLP, winter driving,

Happy New Year from Will Davidson LLP! With the holidays over and the New Year here, vacationers hit the roads to return to work and school. Slippery road conditions and reflective surfaces make for a particularly dangerous time of year on the road. To help keep you and your loved ones safe, we’ve come up with a handy list of winter driving safety tips. Print out a copy and share with other drivers you know. And if an accident should occur, don’t hesitate to contact an Ontario car accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP to discuss your options.

Winter driving safety tips:

Ensure your vehicle is equipped with winter tires: Statistics show over a 50% decrease in motor vehicle accidents as a result of proper winter tires. In fact, in jurisdictions like Quebec, it is mandatory to have winter tires equipped on your vehicle from December 15 to March 15. While many drivers believe all-season tires suffice throughout the winter, the rubber compound these tires are made of becomes too stiff to effectively navigate at about -10 degrees Celsius. In contrast, winter tires do not become stiff until they reach -40 degrees Celsius. The lack of stiffness of the tire results in more traction and better control in icy conditions.

Slow down: Speed is leading cause of fatal accidents. In poor weather conditions, excessive speed can easily result in loss of vehicle control. On certain roads, driving the speed limit can be extremely hazardous depending on the weather. If in doubt, slow down!

Avoid using cruise control in slippery conditions: cruise control can be useful for long trips. However, on ice, snow or slush covered roads, cruise control can pose an additional and unnecessary hazard. When you hit an icy patch, you may not have time to disengage your cruise control and press the brakes. Alternatively, if you have a vehicle that automatically disengages cruise control when pressing on the breaks, you may be tempted to press the brakes too hard, resulting in loss of vehicle control. Your best bet to stay safe is keep your cruise control off, and take your foot off the gas if you hit an icy patch.

Keep a snow brush and/or ice scraper in your vehicle: weather conditions can change in a flash. Being stuck without a snow brush and returning to your car only to find several inches of snow is not only a nuisance, but also a hazard. Accumulated ice and snow reduces visibility in all directions while driving. Did you know you can also be ticketed? Section 74 of the Highway Traffic Act states that no person shall drive a motor vehicle unless the windshield and all windows afford the driver a clear view to the front and side of the motor vehicle. The result can be a hefty fine. Properly cleaning your vehicle of snow and ice keeps yourself and others safe, and avoids unwanted trouble.

Walk with a survival kit: breakdowns can happen quite unexpectedly. During the colder seasons, engine and other mechanical components can be more likely to malfunction. While this may be a mere inconvenience in the summer, a breakdown in remote areas can be deadly in the winter. Some important things to walk with include:

o Shovel
o Sand or other traction aid
o Tow rope or chain
o Booster cables
o Road flares
o Antifreeze
o Flashlight and batteries
o First aid kit
o Small tool kit
o Extra clothing and layers
o Non-perishable foods
o Matches or lighters

Know how to regain control of your vehicle: should you hit a slippery area and lose control of your vehicle, you may be tempted to slam on the breaks. Did you know this could result in further loss of control? The best practice is to come off the gas, reduce your speed and steer into the skid by continuing to steer into the direction you want to go, while being careful not to over-steer. If you are on ice or skidding in a straight line, step on the clutch pedal in a manual transmission car, or shift the gear into neutral on an automatic vehicle.

Watch for wildlife: with food scarce in the winter, many animals are tempted to stray further in search of a snack. Consequently, collisions with animals such as moose peak during January. This can not only be harmful to your vehicle and the animal involved, but can be deadly to you, the driver. Be vigilant in areas marked with animal crossing signs, and be aware of your peripheral vision.

Know when to contact an Ontario car accident lawyer: When an accident does occur, your focus will be on ensuring you and your family are safe and healthy. Contact Will Davidson LLP as soon as possible, and let us look after legal proceedings, while you focus on your recovery.

While these tips may help to keep you safe, accidents can and do still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident this winter, you may require legal assistance. If so, feel free to contact us. Each Ontario car accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP has the expertise and knowledge to help you through your motor vehicle accident. With offices across Ontario, our professional legal staff would be more than happy to help you. Contact us now for your free, no obligation consultation.

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