Every year, winter driving is a source of many unpleasant surprises. For many, driving on snowy or icy roads is a cause for alarm and even a source of stress. Black ice, loss of control, other drivers, and snow storms are the four major fears identified by Canadians in a recent Michelin survey. To give you some insights into these problems and allow you to benefit from the experience of a pro, we asked Richard Spénard, professional race car driver and driving instructor, to share his know-how with you. He offers some simple, effective ways to deal with these four major driving hazards this winter.
Black ice: slow down
That thin layer of transparent ice is almost invisible on the road – that’s why it is indisputably the most dangerous of surfaces. So drive slowly while testing your vehicle’s braking ability by tapping lightly on the brakes to check their reaction and the grip of your tires. That way, you’ll be aware of the driving surface and won’t be taken by surprise.
Loss of control: focus on your destination
Should you have the misfortune to lose control of your vehicle, keep your foot on the brake until the car comes to a complete stop. Remain calm and manoeuvre your car out of the way to avoid any danger of being hit by approaching vehicles. Never get out of your car on the road or shoulder. Should a car in front of you lose control, rather than looking at that vehicle, brake while focusing on where you want to steer your car. Vision and planning are your best allies!
Other drivers: keep your distance
Although some people believe they are past masters at winter driving –beware. Nobody is safe from dangerous weather and changing road conditions. Be wary of other drivers. Drive defensively, slow down, and keep an even longer distance than usual between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you.
Snow storms: prepare for the worst
Nothing beats preparing your vehicle to meet any situation. Get into the habit of checking weather conditions before setting off and delaying or moving up your departure time based on the forecast. Also prepare an emergency kit containing a blanket, flashlight, matches, toque, mittens and other articles that might be of use. Remember that it’s important to prepare carefully for every trip and to remove all the snow from your vehicle to ensure maximum road visibility.
Everything you need to know about winter driving with a single click
For more details or tips, stop by Michelin’s Winter Driving Academy. This interactive website offers educational content developed by Canadian experts for Canadian drivers to help you adopt simple, effective habits to conquer your winter driving fears. Test your knowledge at www.michelinwintercentre.com and, above all, drive safely.