Avoiding accidents in Calgary during any season can be difficult, and winter makes it even harder. Driving conditions in Alberta can be treacherous during the cold-weather months, yet there’s no avoiding the need to head out on the road.
Being prepared is the best thing you can do, and that means brushing up on your winter driving skills. Keeping your car insurance low means building a solid track record of proven safety. With that in mind, here are nine proven strategies for avoiding accidents during the cold-weather months.
Before You Get Behind the Wheel
Many people assume that their eyesight is safe for driving, but standards are actually more stringent and rigid than you might think. If you have any doubts at all whether or not your eyesight meets Alberta’s requirements, you should get tested. If yours falls short, get it corrected; your life and the lives of others may be at stake.
If you’re planning a long road trip during the holiday season, or at any point during the winter, you should take precautions and prepare properly. Make sure you have a well-stocked emergency kit, know your route, and check your vehicle to be certain it’s able to complete the journey.
Cracked windshields are especially dangerous during the winter, when cold temperatures make glass more brittle and breakable. Never drive unnecessarily when you have a crack in your windshield, no matter how small it may be. Even tiny cracks destabilize the whole pane of glass, and that can have costly consequences.
Finally, winter tires are a must. They are specially designed to improve your grip on the road in snowy, icy and wet conditions, and they are proven to reduce your risk of getting into an accident.
Staying Safer on Winter Roads
When it’s time to hit the road, make sure you’re equal to the challenge by observing these important winter driving safety tips:
- Take extra care when driving at sunrise or sunset. Glare can be much worse during the winter, since sunlight reflects off accumulated snowfall.
- Work harder to avoid common winter driving errors, particularly when you’re on the road in difficult conditions. Reduce your speed, increase your following distance, obey all posted signage, and don’t drive aggressively. Being in a hurry during the winter is a recipe for disaster, and nothing will cause you to lose more time than getting in an accident.
Calgary Car Insurance: Zap Distractions and Encourage Passenger Safety
Distracted driving is a major risk even when road conditions are at their safest. During the winter, it must be avoided at all costs. The basic principles of safer, distraction-free driving include:
Avoiding all use of handheld electronic devices while you’re behind the wheel, including smartphones, mp3 players and GPS equipment
Keeping music at moderate levels
Eating while the car is in motion
Taking your eyes off the road to groom yourself
Reaching around the vehicle to search for items you probably don’t even need while you’re driving
Your passengers can help you be a safer, better driver. Get your passengers actively involved in road safety by encouraging them to:
- Act as the “dedicated phone person,” who fields calls and text messages, if necessary
- Look up directions and serve as your co-pilot
- Keep an eye open for hazards you may not immediately notice
- Operate the radio or digital music player
If you’re going to be travelling with children, it’s also a very good idea to plan some activities ahead of time so they’re occupied for most or all of the trip. There are plenty of fun, engaging games and activities that will keep kids’ attention and prevent them from creating a distraction-heightened environment.
Calgary Car Insurance: Discover the Lane’s Difference
At Lane’s Insurance, we strive to help everyone stay safer on Alberta’s roads, but at the same time, we do recognize that accidents happen. If you’re involved in a collision this winter, be sure you know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are, and what you should do following a crash or fender-bender.
Lane’s Insurance is also pleased to offer fast, free, no-obligations car insurance quotes for Alberta drivers. As a licensed, full-service brokerage, Lane’s offers a comprehensive range of personal and commercial vehicle insurance products at highly competitive prices, with outstanding claims support and second-to-none customer service.