Winter Driving Tips
Safe travels during winter weather means more than just changing your tires in October. Here are a few winter driving tips to help you stay safe during Waterloo’s snowy season.
Start with a clear vision
Snow, slush and spray can muck up your vision within seconds on the road. When you switch over to your winter tires, ensure that your windshield wipers are also in good working order. Don’t squint between the streaks. Winter windshield wipers are made with thick rubber that prevents them from getting encrusted in ice and snow and losing contact with your windshield. Before the first snow flies, you should also top up with winter windshield washer fluid to keep your view clean and clear on the coldest of days.
Keep a good brush and scraper combo in you car, so you have a way to properly clean off your windows and mirrors. Using the sleeve of your coat will not get you through a full winter — especially when it comes to the removing the crusty coating caused by freezing rain.
While you’re brushing off your windshield, be sure to clean off any excess snow from the top of your vehicle. Nothing is more annoying than having your vision suddenly impaired by a snow bank flying off the top of the car in front of you.
Take the time to properly wipe down the inside of your windshield as well. You don’t want to be waiting for frost or fog to clear while you’re driving, shrinking down or hunching over your steering wheel to look out the clear spot.
Let your lights shine
Just as your windshield can quickly get messed up with slush and dirt, recognize how quickly your headlights and taillights can also get dirty being that much closer to the ground. Shorter days combined with inclement weather obviously makes it much harder for you to see others on the road, as it does for other drivers to see you. While some vehicles now come with headlight wipers, if yours doesn’t, a wipe-down before you head out can make a big difference in how well your lights shine. If your car doesn’t have automatic daytime running lights, then remember to keep your lights on and shining to increase your visibility at all times.
Slow and steady
Over the holidays everyone has somewhere to be. More functions and obligations on the calendar translate into more hours logged on winter roads. Respect your fellow drivers and be mindful of packed ice and snow — it’s better to slow down and arrive alive than rush in poor weather to only shave off an extra minute or two.
Slippery streets can also make stopping a bit sketchy, so it’s important to keep a wider distance from the car ahead of you of at least three car lengths. Abrupt stops and turns should be avoided to prevent skidding out. Brake slowly before making a turn, accelerating after you have rounded the corner.
Stay in control
During unpredictable winter weather, one key to staying in control is by eliminating the use of cruise control. Should your vehicle hit a wet or icy patch, cruise control may cause your vehicle to accelerate, which is not something you want!
Alternately, if your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), that’s one feature you’ll want to allow to do it’s job. That means no pumping the brakes, but instead apply constant pressure and let the system do its thing.
Finally, if you should find yourself in a slippery skid, while it may sound counter-intuitive, the proper course of action is actually to steer into the skid and accelerate. This allows you to transfer your vehicle’s weight from the front to the back, helping you to regain control.
Still need to winterize your vehicle? Book an appointment with Waterloo Honda’s service team.