Five Things Not to Do When Winter Driving

Overpasses, like this one at Highway 1 at Mt. Lehman Rd in December, can be colder (and potentially slicker) than the rest of the road.

Winter is here, but depending on where you are, you may have already been driving through the snow and ice for a while now. If you’ve had a lot of experience driving in those conditions, you know there’s a lot you can do to prepare yourself and your vehicle to make your travels easier. We’ve been sharing a lot of those tips and tricks lately, and in this season of giving, we’ve got a few more that might make travelling this season a little more enjoyable:

  • Don’t Treat Bridges and Overpasses Like the Rest of the Road: Bridges and overpasses are exposed to cold weather from above and below, and they tend to be colder than other sections of road. As a result, you’ll usually see ice form there sooner and last longer than other areas.
  • Don’t Get Too Close to Sanding/Salting Trucks: If you find yourself behind a plow, keep a safe distance behind it –200 feet at the very least. Visibility near the plow will be greatly reduced because of blowing snow, and if you’re following too close, you’ll fall into the plow driver’s blind spot, and they may not even know you’re there. That could be dangerous, especially for sudden stopping . Also keep in mind that the plow may be spreading winter abrasive on the road. The abrasive is actually made up of small rocks, which can be up to 12.5 mm in diameter, and travelling too fast and too close to the plow could increase the chance of damaging your windshield.
  • Never Pass a Winter Maintenance Vehicle on the Right: Plows will generally be travelling relatively slowly, and it might be tempting to try and pass them. But these vehicles can often have attachments, like wing plows, which can reach 10-12 feet to the right, so if you have to pass a winter maintenance vehicle, wait until it’s safe and pass the left.
  • Don’t Expect Ice to Melt as Soon as it’s Sanded: Even if a truck has just plowed and sanded the road, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be bare and wet. The winter abrasive can take time to work, so be sure to drive carefully.
  • Never Stop in an Avalanche Zone: Some avalanche areas are in very beautiful parts of the province, and there can be a real temptation to stop the car and take pictures. You may even see large, clear spots near the road that look like ideal places to rest for a while. Don’t! Although the chances of an avalanche happening are small, the longer you stay in that area, the more at risk you are. And that large clear space? It’s designed to catch falling snow and stop it from hitting the road. The bottom line – if you see the “Don’t Stop – Avalanche Zone” sign, keep driving until you see the other sign letting you know you’re safe.

What’s your favourite winter driving tip? Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know.

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Page 1 of 5 comments on “Five Things Not to Do When Winter Driving”

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  1. Don’t make any sudden moves when driving on icy or slippery roads. Don’t abruptly accelerate or slam on the brakes. Don’t make sharp sudden turns. Everything needs to be gradual.

  2. How about adding “Don’t drive like it’s a hot summer day. If the speed limit is 50 do 40 or even better 35.” Or maybe “WINTER TIRES ARE CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK. USE THEM.”