In Saskatchewan, it’s possible that you could be operating your vehicle for at least five months of the year in winter driving conditions. Considering that, you should know winter driving tips in Saskatchewan.
Snow, ice and freezing rain reduce traction. Drifting and blowing snow, fog, whiteouts, gas exhaust clouds and frosted windows may severely limit visibility. The main cause of collisions in winter months is failing to adjust to the changing conditions.
Recognize the special hazards of wintry driving and know the winter driving tips in Saskatchewan, needed to drive safely in spite of them. The facts are here, the rest is up to you.
Preparing Your Vehicle
Winter conditions, plus the effects of extremely low temperatures, demand that a vehicle be in top condition. For this reason, a pre-winter check is a necessity, and in the end is less annoying and less costly than battery boosts, tows and being late. Give special attention to your heater and defroster.
As well as getting a tune-up and adding antifreeze to your radiator, you would be wise to have the following:
- snow tires
- block heater
- snow brush and scraper
- gas line antifreeze
- small snow shovel
- set of traction mats
- booster cables (know how to use them)
For out of town trips, add the following survival equipment:
- extra warm clothes (include footwear, mitts and hats)
- a supply of candles and matches
- tow chain or rope
- nourishing freezable food (raisins, nuts, candy)
- sleeping bags
- cellphone and charger cable
Preparing to see and to be seen
If you cannot see through your windows, you should not drive. If your lights and signals are to protect you, they must be visible.
Be able to see and be seen –
- Clean all the snow and ice off of your windshield, other windows, outside mirrors, lights, and reflectors. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with good windshield wiper blades and that wiper arms are exerting enough pressure on the blades to ensure a clean sweep. If moisture or ice builds up on your windshield, stop and clean it off.
- Tires with good deep treads are essential for good cornering and handling on slippery roads. Check air pressure frequently to maintain the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
Get the feel of the road
- Occasionally, try your brakes or gently depress your accelerator while driving; adjust your speed according to existing conditions. Rising temperatures greatly reduce traction on ice and snow.
Stretch your following distance
- Knowing that winter road surfaces may increase stopping distances three to 12 times, the smart driver increases the normal dry road following distance. Heavy trucks require longer stopping distances on slippery roads than passenger cars – don’t tailgate.
Brake before curve
- All vehicles are particularly sensitive to overpowering, oversteering, and over braking on curves. Unseen hazards around the bend may require evasive action, so turn your steering wheel slowly and smoothly, keep a constant speed in the turn, and pump the brakes carefully if it’s necessary to slow down or stop.
- Be extra cautious at intersections where snowbanks can reduce visibility.
Pump your brakes
- The key to stopping under control on slippery surfaces is to avoid locking the wheels. A rapid pumping of brakes will provide short intervals of braking and rolling which will enable you to maintain steering control while stopping. With air brakes, your system does not apply and release as quickly as with hydraulic or electric brakes.
Watch for reduced clearances
- These are caused by accumulated snow or ice.
- Drain air tanks daily and leave them empty when not in use.
For more information about winter driving tips, tricks, and techniques, please click here.