The snow is beginning to fly in Calgary, and that means the roads are soon to become treacherous. Car accident rates increase by 30% in the winter, and cold weather is the cause of about 12% of traffic fatalities and injuries. Although improved vehicle technologies are doing wonders for making cars much safer to drive, a car accident is still something that is best avoided if possible.
Snow, slush, ice and cold weather can wreak havoc on the roads, and it’s essential to be prepared to minimize your risk of being in a collision. Maintaining a claims-free record is the best way to keep your Calgary auto insurance rates low, and with the cold weather settling in, now is the time to review best practices and safety tips for winter driving.
Prep Your Car for Winter
To stay safe on the road this winter, you should start by preparing your vehicle for cold-weather driving in addition to brushing up on expert-recommended strategies to use when you’re behind the wheel. Your first step should be to prepare your car for the rigours of winter driving.
- Swap out your summer or all-season tires for winter tires; they offer superior grip and provide added vehicle stability in snowy and slippery conditions
- Get your car tuned up if it hasn’t been professionally serviced yet this year. You don’t want to get stuck due to a breakdown!
- Repair windshield cracks promptly, since cold weather can make them worse
- Ensure all vehicle fluids are topped up, and keep extra supplies in your trunk
- Always remove ice and snow from all windows and mirrors before beginning a journey
- Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle
- Have a snow brush/ice scraper on hand at all times
Safer Driving in Cold-Weather Conditions
Drivers of all ages and experience levels should slow down when driving during the winter. Experts recommend increasing following distances by as much as three times as normal. This will ensure you have plenty of time to react if something goes wrong ahead of you, and is most effective when used in combination with these other important tips:
- Check the weather forecast and see if road conditions are suitable for driving before you depart
- Do not drive if the weather is bad, and try to stay off the road at night if possible
- Activate your headlights at all times of day
- Avoid making sudden turns and abrupt or unnecessary lane changes, and signal well in advance
- Eliminate distractions and never text or use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel
- Do not use cruise control during the winter
- Do not pass snowplows and keep right except to pass; only pass if it’s absolutely necessary
It will also help you to review the technique for coming out of a skid. If you lose control of your vehicle, follow these steps:
- Take your foot off the brakes
- Steer in the direction you want to go
- Apply firm, steady pressure on the brakes once your vehicle stabilizes
Also, when braking, do not use “pumping” action. Instead, brake smoothly and evenly to help you maintain better control of the car.
Finally, review our step-by-step guide to what you should do if you are involved in auto accident despite your best efforts to avoid a collision.
Common Winter Accidents
The most common accidents on icy roads are mainly predictable. Be extra cautious and always provide yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Be aware of the tendency for these types of crashes in the winter:
- Rear-end collisions caused from following too close
- Sliding though an intersection from approaching too quickly and not giving yourself enough room to stop
- Sliding off the road around a curve or corner happens often when you have not slowed down enough or if you are not gradual with your movements
- Hitting an obstacle due to low visibility
- Becoming involved in an accident that has already happened due to failing to watch others on the road
Low Rates and Outstanding Service for Your Calgary Auto Insurance Coverage from Lane’s
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage offering excellent rates and outstanding service to customers throughout the province. If you’re looking for superior coverage for very competitive prices and you want an insurance provider that prioritizes courteous, personalized service and the industry’s most complete claims support, visit Lane’s Insurance online for a fast, free quote.
Remember that Lane’s also offers a discount of up to 20 percent if you bundle your auto and home insurance together!