Tips for a safe winter drive

Go slow and don’t let other drivers pressure you to speed up. General rule: reduce your overall speed by 10 to 20% under hazardous conditions.

Brake it to them gently.

Know your braking system and how it reacts on ice. Always be gentle with braking pressure on slick roads.

Lose the white knuckles.

Stay in control of your vehicle by braking, steering and accelerating gently.

Avoid surprises!

Check the road conditions at ama.ab.ca/road-reports before you head out.

See the future.

Plan the best route to your destination ahead of time.

Give your brakes a break.

Avoid braking on curves by driving through them at a safe, steady speed.

Be afraid of the dark.

If your stopping distance is greater than the distance lighted by your headlights, slow down.

See and be seen.

Be sure your windshield, windows, side view mirrors and headlights are always clean so you can see the road and so other drivers can see you.

Brake for bridges.

Bridge decks are subject to greater temperature fluctuations and may be slippery even when other parts of the highway are not.

When travelling on snowy roads, try driving outside of the previous tire tracks to give you some extra traction. This also helps when there are shiny ruts in the road.

Keep calm and drive on.

Take your foot off the brake if your vehicle begins to skid and steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly.

On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop.

Avoid sudden moves.

Anticipate turns or lane changes. Abrupt changes in direction or slamming on the brakes could cause you to spin out of control.

Be safe not sorry.

Pack warm clothes, a charged cell phone and charger—they could save your life.

Keep your headlights on.

Don’t rely on daytime running lights. Low beams are more effective than high beams in fog or heavy snow conditions.

Over the hill.

Accelerate slightly when approaching a hill and then maintain a steady speed going up.

Stay back from snowplows.

They will let you pass every five to eight kilometres or when it is safe to do so.

Go back to bed.

Unless travel is absolutely necessary, stay off the roads during major storms. Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space.

On wet or icy roads, cruise control leaves you with no control. It could cause your vehicle to hydroplane.

Make the grade.

Gear down for both uphill climbs and downhill grades. This can help you avoid brake wear and chances of sliding. But avoid abrupt downshifting as it can upset a vehicle’s balance and cause a skid, particularly when turning.

Drive prepared.

Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space.

See the gas half-full.

Make sure your gas tank is always above half-full to avoid fuel line freeze-up and running out of gas.

Winterize your vehicles.

This should include an examination of the spare tire, battery, belts, hoses, anti-freeze, tires, brakes, heater, defroster and windshield wipers.

Rear-wheel ready.

If you are driving a rear-wheel drive, prepare to steer just enough in the opposite direction in order to prevent a counter skid.