Winter defensive driving tactics and tips you should be observing

Winter is coming.



With temperatures getting awfully close to the freezing mark after dusk, icy and snowy conditions may not be far off. As such, drivers need to be extra vigilant when out and about during inclement weather. Here are some defensive driving tactics and tips that can help get you safely through the coming cold months. 

Correcting a slide

A vehicle suddenly sliding, seemingly of its own accord, can be scary. If this happens, don’t suddenly hit the brakes, as the change in momentum is often what triggers a slide and can make it worse. Let off the accelerator and nudge the steering wheel in the same direction the back end is sliding, and as you begin to straighten out, bring the wheel back to a neutral position.

Deactivate cruise control

Cruise control is handy on long highway trips, letting you relax your foot and avoid costly speeding tickets. However, if the tires start to spin or hydroplane, the feature could cause the car to continue speeding up resulting in a skid. Leave cruise off when things turn nasty outside.

Top up the gas tank

There are a few pros to keeping the fuel level above 50 per cent. The extra weight can make it easier to gain traction, and a full tank prevents condensation from forming that can freeze and cause issues with the fuel line system. And having more gas than less is always a benefit in the event you become stranded somewhere.

Stay off the beaten path

While driving in the white stuff, try to stay outside the lines. Previous tire tracks often become packed down ice — moving slightly beside them can provide a little extra needed grip.

Get a good night’s sleep

Automotive travel especially in winter requires motorists to be alert and possess quick reflexes, since slippery road surfaces can be unpredictable. If possible, don’t get behind the wheel when you’re tired to reduce the risk of being involved in an incident.

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights