Tips for Safe Winter Driving in Ontario
The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road in Canada. Not only are daylight hours scarce and winter storms common, but driver behaviour tends to reach an all-time low. Motorists are exhausted from long trips, stressed out by the pressures of the season, and more likely to be intoxicated than at other times of the year. For these reasons and more, Ontario car accident lawyers tend to see an influx of motor vehicle accident claims around the New Year.
Unfortunately, the accidents don’t stop on January 1st. While the total number of collisions on Canadian roads tends to decrease during the winter, the drivers who brave the elements are more likely to be involved in accidents. According to Allstate Insurance’s annual Safe Driving Study, collisions claims frequency peaks in February, December, and January.
Every day, our Ontario car accident lawyers speak to victims of serious traffic accidents about the immense hardships they face on their road to recovery. We are passionate advocates for improved safety on Canadian roads: here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe this winter.
Safe Winter Driving in Ontario
The best time to prepare for winter driving in Ontario is during the fall – but that’s not always possible. If your vehicle isn’t yet ready for the heart of winter, do the following as soon as possible:
- Check your battery. Clean the battery posts and check the charging system and belts. Have the battery tested, if necessary; if it’s weak, replace it. With a fully charged battery, you can be sure your car will start on those blistering cold February mornings.
- Check also your lights, windshield wipers, and brakes. In dark, slippery conditions, properly working lights, wipers, and brakes can be the difference between a serious accident and a near miss.
- Install winter tires. Some drivers don’t believe southern Ontario winters are harsh enough to warrant snow tires; our team of experienced Ontario car accident lawyers disagrees. Properly inflated, high-quality winter tires provide traction and increase fuel efficiency.
Check the Weather
There’s no excuse for not checking the weather in 2020: a detailed forecast is a click and a swipe away on your smartphone. Turn on notifications from Environment Canada or The Weather Network to receive alerts about incoming weather systems. Be especially wary of blizzards, heavy snowstorms, freezing rain, sudden cold snaps, and severe winds – these events wreak havoc on the roads. Avoid driving in these conditions, if possible.
Visibility is key during the dark and snowy winter months. In addition to checking your lights and wipers, make sure you have a sturdy snowbrush on hand and be vigilant about clearing your car. Remove snow and ice from the hood, roof, windows, and lights before you hit the road. If you lose visibility during your journey, find a safe place to pull off the road and wait for the weather to clear.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Be prepared for anything this winter by keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your trunk. The government of Canada recommends including the following items:
- A shovel
- Sand or kitty litter
- Traction mats
- A tow chain
- A compass
- A cloth or roll of paper towels
- A warning light or road flares
- Extra clothing and footwear
- And emergency food pack
- Booster cables
- Matches and a survival candle in a deep can
- A fire extinguisher
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Fuel line antifreeze
- A reflective vest
- Road maps
- An ice scraper and brush
- A flashlight
- A first aid kid
You should also make sure your phone is fully charged before pulling out of the driveway.
The same road safety basics that apply throughout the year are doubly important during the winter. Stay alert, rested, sober, focused on the road, and belted in at all times. As we mentioned above, the holiday season is primetime for impaired driving in Canada – if you have a family or office holiday party to attend, arrange alternative transport home.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a member of your family is involved in a traffic accident this winter, contact Will Davidson LLP today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of Ontario car accident lawyers will explain your legal option and offer advice as you decide whether to pursue a claim. Serious personal injuries can have lifechanging impacts, and a personal injury claim can help you finance your recovery.
Will Davidson LLP has been representing seriously injured accident victims in Ontario for decades. Our team is proud to offer compassionate legal representation on a contingency basis, meaning you will not be charged for legal fees until after your case has been resolved. Reach out today to learn more.