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Toronto, ON

11 Winter Driving Tips For Staying Safe On The Road

Head-on view of a traffic on a busy road during a snowstorm.

As winter weather arrives in Ontario, there are concerns about driving. Snowy and icy conditions can be dangerous for drivers and increase the risk of car accidents that can leave people seriously injured.

Here are 11 tips for safe winter driving:

1. Keep a “survival kit” in the trunk of your vehicle.

Include items you might need if you break down or get stuck for a long period of time. These items can include booster cables, windshield wiper fluid, a snow brush, a small shovel, a first aid kit, a flashlight, gloves, a safety vest, candles, bottled water and non-perishable food.

2. Check weather and road conditions before going out.

This can alert you to any problems and give you an idea of what to expect. As needed, you can then choose a safer route or change your plans.

3. Stay at a safe distance behind snow plows.

The drivers of the plows may not be able to see you in the mirrors. Your visibility can also be affected as the plows do their work.

4. Get winter tires.

All-season tires aren’t as effective as winter tires and lose their grip in temperatures below 7° C. You’ll have better traction, handling and braking in the snow with winter tires. They can also shorten braking distance by up to 25 per cent. You may also be eligible for an insurance discount by using winter tires.

5. Take it slow and give yourself extra time.

Drive at a speed appropriate for road conditions. In wintry weather, allow yourself more time to get to your destination.

6. Take the time to clear all snow and ice from your vehicle.

This includes all windows, mirrors and lights. Clear all snow and ice from the roof as well. If the windows are foggy, wait for them to clear up before driving.

7. Wear clothes that are comfortable.

Wearing layers is generally a good idea in the winter, but too many layers can restrict movement and interfere with your driving.

8. Keep your gas tank full.

This helps in a couple of ways in the winter. Moisture in your fuel system is reduced. A full tank also adds extra weight to your vehicle.

9. Keep your phone fully charged and know the OPP numbers.

Put the OPP non-emergency number in your phone: 1-888-310-1122. To check provincial highway conditions, you can call 511 or visit

10. Skip the cruise control in slippery conditions.

It can be very easy to lose control of your vehicle in wintry weather. If road conditions are very bad, don’t drive at all if possible.

11. Know how to recover from a skid.

Different vehicles respond in different ways, depending on whether they have rear wheel, front wheel or four wheel drive. Become familiar with your vehicle and all of its features, such as an anti-lock braking system (ABS).

If you do get into an accident, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Smitiuch Injury Law fights for the injured in the GTA. Our car accident lawyers build strong cases and can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at our Toronto, Brantford or Simcoe office.

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