Change your habits for winter driving


By Tara Seel

      Media Relations Officer

It is no surprise for Manitoba drivers that ice and snow affect the roadways. What may be surprising, however, is how some simple changes in driving habits can make a big difference to your safety while driving in winter conditions. Habits that drivers have on dry roads could have serious consequences if practiced on icy or snow-covered roadways.

RCMP in Manitoba want everyone to reach their destination safely, so here are a few tips to help you do that:

Posted speed limits are for ideal travel conditions. On winter roads be aware there could be ice. Driving at reduced speeds is a great precautionary measure against slippery conditions.

Do not use cruise control.

• Increase your distance between other vehicles becuase stopping distance on an icy road is double the stopping distance on a dry one.

Use steady and precise movements when driving in winter conditions. Jerky movements and steering while braking or accelerating can cause skidding.

   Observe road signs pointing out icy spots, such as bridges and overpasses.

If you start to skid, do not brake or accelerate. Look where you want the vehicle to go and steer in that direction

• As always, keep in mind the basic safety rules: buckle up, slow down, drive with caution, be aware, alert and sober, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and keep focused on the road

For winter driving, preparation is key. Make sure you have your vehicle and yourself ready before you head out on the roads:

Have proper tires on your vehicle. Tire pressure decreases in colder weather, so check your tire pressure often.

Ensure you have windshield washer fluid that is rated for winter use so you can keep your windshield clean and your line of vision clear.

Be familiar with the safety features of your vehicle.

Clear all snow and frost from your vehicle before driving so that you can see and be seen.

Ensure wheel wells are cleared of slush or build-up that could impede your ability to steer.

  Make sure someone knows the route you are planning to take.

Have extra winter wear in your vehicle, such as toques, mittens and winter boots.

Keep a road safety kit and shovel in your vehicle.

Be aware of road conditions before you set out. If road conditions are unfavourable, the safest strategy is to avoid driving. 

Have safe and happy travelau