Winter Driving Tips in Edmonton (Alberta)
Winter in Alberta presents some unique challenges to drivers, especially young drivers who have little to no experience on the slippery roads and cold conditions. The key is to plan ahead and provide yourself with plenty of time to get to your destination. Of course, you should not go in the first place unless you absolutely must get to your location.
Winterize Your Vehicle
This means you will need to get the oil changed, replace the other fluids if necessary and inspect the following items;
- Tires & Spare Tire
- Belts & Hoses
- Defroster & Heater
- Windshield Wipers
Be sure you are carrying a first aid kit and a blanket, sleeping bag, or another item to keep you warm if your vehicle should breakdown.
Clean Off Your Vehicle
Be sure to wipe off all the large chunks of snow and make sure that you can see out of all the windows and use your mirrors. Also, make sure that your lights are not covered in snow so that others can see you properly. In addition, top off your gas tank if it is below a half-tank so that you have extra fuel in case you need it.
Even if the snow and ice are patchy, there is no reason to drive fast. The faster you drive, the more likely you will lose control of your vehicle when hitting a slick spot. You’ll want to be reasonable and drive the minimum speed if possible, but during winter weather conditions you can drive slower. Just remember to let others go by, especially on the highway.
Keep Away from Traffic if Possible
It’s more difficult for your vehicle to run into another vehicle if you keep your distance. Remember, under slick conditions it can take as much as three times the distance to stop. So, when you are operating your vehicle, drive with that in mind so you can avoid accidents.
Steer, not Brake
One of the most difficult aspects for young drivers to understand is not using your brakes if your car starts to skid or slide in another direction. Instead, take your foot off the gas and steer the vehicle into the direction you want to go. That way, your tires can regain their traction and you can gain control of your vehicle. Braking only makes it worse, so remember to steer instead.
In addition, unless it’s bright and sunny out you should keep your headlights on at all times. This will help others to see you when on the road. In addition, you’ll want to use your turn signals well in advance and generally operate your vehicle in a manner that maximizes control and visibility to others on the road.
High Way Driving Tips
In many ways, driving on the high way is safer than city neighborhoods and intersections despite the greater speed. This is because the traffic on high ways is all going in one direction with no intersections to cross and incoming traffic comes onto the road in a predictable fashion. However, there are some tips that you will need to follow to stay safe on the high way.
Obey the Speed Limit
While it seems that the designated speed limit is not high enough for many drivers, the truth is that you increase your chances of having an accident for every mile above the limit that you drive. By staying at the speed limit, you provide yourself with more opportunities to avoid potential accidents because of the additional time that you have available.
Keep Your Distance
You should keep your distance from the vehicles in front of you when at all possible. The further behind you are from a vehicle, the more you can see to avoid obstacles and the more time you have to react to unexpected events. Tailgating at high way speeds is dangerous because you have so little time to get your vehicle out of the way in case something bad should occur.
Use Your Headlights in Less than Ideal Weather
You should turn on your headlights when facing inclement weather conditions that include rain, sleet, snow, and hail. In fact, any weather condition that reduces visibility is good cause for turning on your headlights. Many accidents have occurred because drivers were surprised by a vehicle that they did not see until it was too late. So, when inclement weather strikes, turn on your headlights so others can see you.
Braking Options are Limited
At high way speeds, your braking options become quite limited because of the distance needed for your vehicle to stop. In many instances, you are better off getting into the other lane or even on the shoulder of the road depending on the unexpected event that takes place in front of you. In many high way accidents, braking was not an option, so you will need to think about redirecting your vehicle while slowing down or even speeding up depending on the circumstances. By following these tips, you can drive safely on the highways and reduce your chances of having an accident.