Feel unsafe driving in a snowstorm? How to build confidence

As Canadian drivers, we still need to get to our destinations whether the forecast calls for clear skies or a major storm. But if you feel unsure driving in heavy snow, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, one in five Canadians feel unsafe driving on winter roads, and 42 per cent are particularly concerned about black ice.

Fortunately, there are ways to stay in control of the situation as you navigate treacherous weather. Here are some tips from the experts at OK Tire:

Keep a well-stocked emergency kit.

This can include a portable phone charger, extra warm clothes, jumper cables, shovel, salt, snow brush and ice scraper. You may also want to include an AutoSock, a new generation of winter traction technology that’s a great alternative to metal chains and can help whenever you are stuck.

Know how your car behaves on ice.

If you drive on black ice, your vehicle will not respond as well to driver inputs, similar to if you were driving on regular ice. Anticipate where black ice can form and remain vigilant.

For example, if your route includes travel over a bridge, there’s no ground insulation to keep the temperature constant and condensation can freeze into smooth, bubble-free black ice. Similarly, with sunless tunnels and overpasses the moisture left by drivers’ tailpipes can freeze into black ice. In any icy road scenario, avoid over-correcting with the steering wheel or panic braking.

Ensure you have the right tires.

Before braving any winter driving, you should feel confidence in your tires. If you are dealing with the possibility of blizzard conditions, studded tires can provide you with superior grip and braking capabilities for improved vehicle control on icy roads.

While we cannot eliminate the extremes of Canada’s winters, we can at least prepare ourselves. If conditions are too dangerous, consider staying home and off the roads altogether. -NC

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