Heavy holiday travel and icy, snowy winter road conditions can be a tricky combination when it comes to staying safe behind the wheel. While some accidents are unavoidable, there are things you can do in terms of cautious driving and vehicle maintenance that can prevent some winter-related collisions. While the safety of people involved in a crash is the biggest concern, even small fender benders can put a dent in your vehicle’s value.
Winter road conditions put you in danger
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a major storm or snow that’s just heavy enough to coat the roads. Icy and slippery spots can be hard to see, so you may not be aware of these hazards until they’re right under your nose (or wheels).
Winter road conditions are bad enough, but trying to get from A to B safely among other holiday travelers can increase your chances of ending up in a crash. Use these winter driving tips to increase the odds of coming through the winter season with your vehicle unscathed.
In Canada, 30 percent of car accidents occur on wintery roads. No matter how much driving experience you have or how safe you feel on the roads, Mother Nature presents challenges that can throw anyone off. Winter road conditions are enough of a threat when you’re alone on the roads, but the high traffic-volumes of the holiday season certainly don’t help.
When you’re in close proximity to other drivers, all it takes is one mistake – either on your part or theirs – to end in a collision. Losing control on a rough spot can cause you to hit other cars, or it can cause them to hit you. But even when winter road conditions and heavy traffic abound, you can stay safer by making sure your vehicle is prepared and driving according to weather conditions.
Driving tips for winter road conditions
Even accidents where no one is injured impact your vehicle’s value. A minor brush up against another car while sliding can cause your resale value to take a hit.
As Canadians, it’s important that we learn how to drive safely on icy roads to avoid these types of situations. Some of the basics include remaining calm, and not trying to overcorrect during instances of swerving and sliding. While this is sometimes hard to do as losing control can be a panic-inducing moment, less is more when it comes to recovering on slippery roads.
It's also important for Canadians to invest in winter tires. These tires are made to withstand cold and ice – they are actually made of a different type of rubber than the all-seasons that many drivers think will keep them safe (all-seasons is a deceiving term… they should be called three-seasons). The rubber compound in all-season tires starts to freeze when temperatures drop below 7° Celsius, making them less effective at gripping the road. Don’t be fooled into a false sense of security in your AWD vehicle with all-season tires. All-wheel drive is a great feature that helps you accelerate and move through difficult conditions, but it doesn’t improve your ability to stop accurately on an icy road, and won’t be much help to you if you’re unable to stop at a stop sign. Heavy snow, ice, and freezing rain will make any drive difficult, but tires designed for the task can help you reduce the chance you’ll lose control on the road.
All of these tips will help you maintain your used car’s value, which will come in handy when the time comes to sell.
Download our free Used Car Selling Guide for more information that will help you make a fast, easy sale.