November 7, 2006

Young Drivers of Canada offers defensive driving tips for winter

Toronto, Ontario – Winter driving conditions are highly variable and require both a higher level of concentration and an adjustment in driving style, says Young Drivers of Canada. Here are some defensive driving tips for winter:

  • Ready Yourself – Remove bulky clothing that could restrict your ability to steer. Clean your boots to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals.
  • Hitting Ice and Maintaining Control – Remember two things if you start to lose control: shift into neutral (or put in the clutch if you have a standard transmission), and take your foot off the gas. Then look and steer as gently as possible in the direction you want to go.
  • Emergency ABS Braking – If your vehicle has ABS, first, step on the brake pedal as fast and as hard as you can. Do not pump the brakes. Maintain hard and continuous pressure to allow the ABS computer do the work. Feeling a pulsing in the brake pedal is normal. Second, keep the pressure on, look for an escape route and steer toward it.
  • Threshold Braking (no ABS) – For threshold braking, the driver should apply the brakes hard but not quite hard enough to lock the wheels in order to steer and maintain control.
  • Essential Items for your Car – Include a long handled scraper and snowbrush, windshield washer fluid, booster cables, reflective cones, a flashlight, first aid kit, blanket and kitty litter for traction on ice when spread around the wheels.
  • Lights On – Regardless of the time of day, cut your chance of crashing by 20% by using your full low-beam headlights. Most automatic headlight systems and daytime running lights do not activate the rear lights during daylight hours so turn on your low-beam headlights.
  • Tires – Snow tires on all four wheels will provide better traction and control in a winter emergency when those extra few meters of stopping distance are needed. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month as it will vary with the temperature.

  • Seeing Habits – Check your mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds so that you can see a rear-end collision taking shape behind you. Always plan your escape route so you have somewhere to go when a crash is likely.

For additional Winter Driving tips, visit

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