Unlike other areas, winter isn’t something that happens gradually in Canada. In Canada it can be warm and breezy one day and bitterly cold with blowing snow only 24 hours later. And every year winter seems to be arriving earlier and earlier. We’ve actually already had snow storms the past 4 weekends. Because the snow begins flying with very little warning it is very important to be prepared for it, especially when it comes to driving in the winter. New drivers may feel quite nervous about driving on snowy icy roads due to their lack of knowledge and experience, so let’s talk about some winter driving tips for new drivers. Hopefully they will be of some use.
Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers
Check Your Gas Tank
An important and often overlooked driving tip is to make sure that when you drive in the winter you have at least a half a tank of gas if not more.
You never know when you might get stuck in traffic due to poor driving conditions or accidents in front of you, and the last thing you want to do is to run out of gas, especially when it is freezing out.
Check Your Tires
Depending on how much snow your area gets you may want to consider putting winter tires on your vehicle. If that is not necessary, than perhaps all season tires will work well. You want tires that will give you good traction and help you get up slippery hills without a push from another driver.
Stock Up on Accessories and Supplies
In the winter it is important that new drivers have a fully stocked car even if it hasn’t started snowing yet. Make you sure you have a snowbrush and ice scraper, booster cables, extra windshield washer fluid, a first aid kit and a flashlight.
An extra scarf and a good pair of gloves are important as well as some snacks, in case you get stuck somewhere for a long time.
Clean Your Vehicle Well
I always find it scary to see cars travelling down the road with their roof, back window and tail lights covered in snow.
All drivers, young and old, need to take the time to thoroughly clean the snow and ice off of their vehicle before they get on the road.
Make sure you plan to leave early so that you have time to clean your vehicle properly. When you skip this you risk your own safety as well as the drivers around you.
Ensure Your Vehicle Maintenance is Up-to-date
Remember to check your antifreeze, wipers, exhaust system and heating to ensure they are all in optimal condition. Make sure your windows defrost properly inside your vehicle. You also want to check your head lights and tail lights, as well as your blinkers to make sure they are working correctly.
Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance
New drivers include those that are driving with their Learner’s Permit and those that have recently received their Driver’s Licence. No matter which category you are in, you need to make sure that you have proper insurance based on where you live.
Each country, and in fact each province in Canada, has different insurance requirements for new drivers. Insure Learner Driver offers insurance for people while they are learning to drive.
Check with your local insurance company to see if they offer similar coverage. Understand too that when you drive with a Learner’s permit you typically need to have a fully licensed driver in the vehicle with you.
Having the right insurance for your vehicle isn’t just important for winter driving. It is extremely important to have whenever you drive.
Speeding on icy, slippery roads, following too close, and making quick lane changes, will quickly get you into trouble.
In the winter it is more important than ever to practice safe acceleration as well as ensuring that there is plenty of distance between you and the cars ahead of you.
Before you leave for your destination, plan out your route. That way you will not need to make any sudden lane changes that might cause your vehicle to slide, and you will not have to worry about getting lost in the cold.
Remember that if you are the driver of the vehicle you are in charge of the vehicle. It is your responsibility to ensure that you drive safely and take all of the above precautions. As well, it is your responsibility to ensure that there is enough gas and that all of the maintenance is up-to-date for winter driving. You never want to get caught in a position where something goes wrong with your vehicle or you run out of gas because you assumed someone else in your family was looking after the vehicle.
Getting stuck out in your vehicle on a winter night when it is 20 below out is no fun for anyone. Drive safe this winter.