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A few helpful tips for winter driving

Thursday, November 29, 2012   by: Kate AdamsCAA News Release

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Ottawa - The official start of winter is still a few weeks away, but snow and ice have already made appearances in many communities across the province, forcing drivers to once again experience the perils of winter driving. CAA North & East Ontario (CAANEO) reminds motorists that extra care on roadways is required as winter weather conditions make a return.

"The safety of all motorists is of paramount concern to CAANEO, which is why we are encouraging motorists to plan ahead and drive defensively," said Korey Kennedy, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for CAANEO.

"Regardless of where your travels take you this winter season – be it for a holiday road trip or just your daily commute to work – all drivers must ensure their vehicles are winter-ready and that they adjust their driving habits to reflect the change in weather."

Though the safest strategy is to avoid driving during periods of severe weather, if you must head out be sure to check the forecast before leaving and allow for extra time to reach your destination.

The following are a few tips from CAANEO for motorists to keep in mind during the winter months:

- Before you leave, clear off all snow from your vehicle's hood, roof, lights and windows.

- Make sure you have enough fuel; having your tank at least half full when you head out is ideal.

- Be cautious of the hazard of black ice in temperatures between +4°C and -4°C, where the road surface looks black and shiny.

- Leave sufficient braking room between you and other vehicles, and avoid using overdrive or cruise control in poor weather.

- If your road travels will be taking you far away from home, notify someone of your intended destination and anticipated arrival time.

- Fill up with a windshield washer fluid in the -40°C range and be sure to carry an extra jug in your vehicle.

- When approaching the blue flashing light of a snowplow from behind, slow down and stay back. DO NOT pass a snowplow. When approaching a plow from the opposite direction, move as far away from the centreline as is safely possible.

- All vehicles should be equipped with an emergency kit containing the following items to help ensure you are prepared for the unexpected: shovel, flashlight, first aid kit, blanket, booster cables, ice scraper and brush, matches and a “survival” candle placed in a deep can, winter gloves, an emergency food pack, and a fully charged cell phone.

If you become stuck or stranded, do not panic and make every effort to keep your passengers calm. Always stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth and wait for help to arrive. If you do attempt to free your vehicle, take care by dressing warmly, shovelling slowly and making sure to not overexert yourself.

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