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9 Tips for a Safer Winter Drive

How To Drive During The Ottawa Winter?

If you’ve ever driven in the nation’s capital during the winter, you know that there’s plenty of snow, ice, slush, and hail on Ottawa’s streets and highways.

Some Canadians escape the winter weather by heading south of the border to one of the states with balmy climes year-round. But most aren’t able to do so.

According to one source, Ottawa traditionally gets an average of approximately 223 centimetres of snow between October and April. That’s more than twice the amount that Toronto gets.

What can you do to drive safely during the winter season? Read on for 9 winter drive tips to remember.

1. Warm Up Your Vehicle Before You Start Driving  

Winter driving can be challenging enough. The last thing you need to do is make things more complicated than they need to be. Before starting up your car and hitting the roadway, ensure you take the time to warm up your car.

If you don’t warm up your vehicle before heading out, you risk experiencing fogging on your windows. Your car windows can fog up and quickly reduce your visibility to zero.

Do you have a remote car starter? Activate it and allow your car to run for several minutes before driving off. Doing this will allow your car’s interior to warm up and prevent fogging.

2. Plan Your Trip  

It’s also a good idea to plan your trip before heading out for the day. Nowadays, it’s easy to get updates on traffic in and around the city. You’ll want to avail yourself of this information to plan your trips.

Give yourself sufficient time to get to and from your destination. If the roads are covered in snow, a usually short trip can take longer.

3. Let Someone Know Your Route and ETA  

If you’re going to be travelling, let someone know your route and the estimated time of arrival. Doing this is especially important if the driving conditions aren’t favourable.

If you do run into difficulty, you’ll be better off if someone knows your plans. Whether you tell a family member or friend, you’ll want to inform someone.

4. Have the Right Equipment  

When it comes to winter driving, you need the right equipment. Otherwise, you might jeopardize your safety and the safety of pedestrians and other drivers.

What follows is a look at the sort of equipment you need.

Winter Tires  

A quality set of winter tires is a must. All-season tires should more accurately be called three-season tires since they’re inadequate for winter driving.

All-seasons start to lose grip when the temperature dips below 7 degrees Celsius. Winter tires are thinner and remain flexible when the temperature drops. All-seasons for spring, fall, and winter. Winters tires are for winter.

Xenon Headlights  

The types of headlights you have on your car matter regardless of the season. That’s why it makes sense to invest in Xenon headlights for your car.

If you’re driving through blowing snow in low-light or nighttime conditions, a good set of Xenon headlights will make all the difference.

Using the wrong headlights can cause glare that negatively impacts other drivers.

Xenon headlights are what are high-intensity discharge units. They’ll light up the road ahead of you and make driving safer and more pleasant.

Traditional halogen headlights are less efficient. You can lose as much as 70% of your overall visibility if your car has halogens. Xenon headlights can, meanwhile, produce 3,000 lumens of light. It’s worth upgrading.

Winter Kit  

Do you have a winter kit in the trunk of your car? If not, you need one. In addition to having an emergency kit year-round, you need a winter kit that includes a snow shovel, liquids like windshield washer fluid, and a snow brush.

You also need to ensure your battery is in good condition and fully charged. It won’t hurt if you have a portable battery booster just in case you’re in a jam.

5. Never Slam on the Brakes  

Drive at a reasonable speed and focus on the task at hand. By so doing, you can avoid situations on the road that would call for slamming on the brakes.

If you do have to slam on the brakes, there’s no telling what can happen. You might skid, swerve out of control, or potentially get into an accident. So, drive in accordance with road conditions and remain at a reasonable speed.

6. Keep a Safe Distance  

It’s always a good idea to keep a safe distance. Ensure there’s enough space between you and other drivers on the road. It’ll be easier to react if something happens out on the roadway.

If you’re too close to other drivers, performing evasive maneuvers might be all but impossible.

7. Avoid Distractions  

Regardless of the time of year, you’ll want to avoid distractions while driving. But the need to remain focused is heightened during the winter driving season.

Avoid fiddling with the radio, talking on your phone or to passengers, or checking text messages. Focus on safe driving to avoid problems.

8. What to Do if You Start to Skid  

It’s easy to panic if your car starts to skid. But that’s the worse thing you can do. If your car starts to skid, get your foot off the accelerator. You’ll then need to steer your car in the direction it’s sliding.

When you regain traction, straighten the wheels slowly until you regain full control of the vehicle. Don’t use the brakes during this procedure.

9. What to Do if Stuck in Snow  

If your car is stuck in the snow, there are different things you can do. You can start off by using a shovel to clear away as much snow as you can. Switching off the traction control will also help the drive wheels to gain traction.

Another strategy is to try the back-and-forth technique. Drive ahead a bit and then reverse a bit. Doing this might help you to free your car. Rocking back and forth might also provide you with the momentum needed to free your vehicle.

Winter Drive: The Takeaway  

As you can see, there are various things you can do to stay safe during the winter. If you’re looking to upgrade your stock headlights with Xenon headlights that will provide you with superior performance, we can help.

We provide HID Lighting Kits, HID headlight conversion, and more. Get in touch to get a quote or to ask any winter drive questions you may have.

About AudioMotive

For over 10 years, AudioMotive has and continues to be, Ottawa’s premier vehicle upgrade experts. With more than 25 years of combined industry experience, we proudly specialize in all things related to HID lighting and mobile electronics sales and installation.