Heading out on the road after the first snowfall requires most of us to quickly think back to last winter and remember what we’re supposed to do (or not do) when driving on good winter roads and sometimes on less than ideal road conditions and more so when severe weather hits.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some tips so you know what to do :
- Look well ahead and watch for black ice at temperatures between +4°C and -4°C, where the road surface ahead looks black and shiny. Most times, a driver can’t see black ice. As a general rule, if the pavement looks shiny and black instead of grey-white, slow down.
- Watch for ice build-up at intersections, bridge decks and ramps and always slow down before the icy area.
- Drive for the conditions. Winter road conditions can change very quickly, so drive proactively, reduce your speed, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front.
- Use gentle braking, steering and acceleration when driving on snow covered roads.
- Never use cruise control on wet or icy roads. Using cruise control when there is a build-up of water and ice can cause your vehicle to hydroplane (a loss of control due to a layer of water between your tires and the road). Remember, cruise control is designed for ideal road conditions.
- Snowplows are equipped with flashing amber and red lights to make them more visible, so be aware flashing amber and red means snowplow ahead.
- Give emergency road crews room to work. Drivers should allow extra room on the road for snowplow and tow truck operators, as well as for paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement. Also remember that drivers must reduce speed to 60 km/h or the posted speed, whichever is lower, when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing.
- Check your highway route before you leave the house. Visit our AMA Road Reports® interactive map from your computer, smart phone, or tablet before you head out on your travels, or follow us on Twitter to get updates on road & weather condition information.
Quick Question: In a 90km/h zone, are you speeding if you’re driving at 80km/h?
Answer: Yes – if you’re driving through blowing snow. Speed limits posted on highway signs, indicate the maximum speed you should travel at based on ideal road, weather or traffic conditions. The reality is speeding can also refer to travelling too fast for those conditions.