Ottawa, Ontario – With some drivers already experiencing snow this season, Young Drivers of Canada asks motorists if they are prepared for winter driving and the extra demands it puts on a driver and vehicle. If you have not done so already, it is important to have a tune-up and inspection done on your vehicle to prevent problems.

“Proper preparation and the right skills will help you face the challenge of winter driving,” said Young Drivers president Peter Christianson. “Handling your vehicle in winter driving conditions requires a higher level of concentration and an adjustment in driving style.”

Young Drivers offers the following tips to stay safe and collision-free this winter:

– Remove bulky clothing that could restrict your ability to steer, and clean your boots to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals.

– If you hit ice and start to lose control, shift into neutral (or put in the clutch on a standard transmission) and take your foot off the throttle. Then look well ahead and steer immediately to keep the vehicle straight. Once under control, steer in the direction you want to go.

– For emergency braking, if your vehicle has anti-lock brakes (ABS), 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 to do the work; pulsing in the brake pedal is normal. Keep the pressure on, look for an escape route, and steer toward it if necessary. For threshold braking without ABS, 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 snow brush, windshield washer fluid, booster cables, reflective cones, a flashlight, first-aid kit, blanket, and kitty litter to spread around the wheels for traction on ice.

– Regardless of the time of day, cut your chance of crashing by up to 20 per cent by using your full low-beam headlights. Most automatic headlight systems and daytime running lights do not activate the rear lights during daylight hours.

– Snow tires on all four wheels will provide better traction and control. Winter tires can provide much better control when the temperature drops below minus 7C and can improve braking by up to 25 per cent over an all-season radial, and collision avoidance by about 38 per cent. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month.

– 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.

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