Temperatures in Ontario have been ranging from a low of -30 to a high of +5 degrees lately, resulting in extremely unpredictable driving conditions. We are currently under a freezing rain advisory that has subsequently closed all schools and many businesses in southwestern Ontario. Extreme cold warnings were released for other parts of Canada such as Manitoba, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. In some locations, lows of -50 degrees are expected.
Despite our familiarity, as Canadians, with harsh winters and poor driving conditions, it is crucial to stay alert and be cautious. It only takes one patch of ice to impact your otherwise successful driving record, or more severely, the safety of you and drivers around you. Predicting the actions and decisions of drivers on the road is nearly impossible; the only person you can be responsible for is yourself.
Driving in our latest and most unforgiving weather conditions, such as ice, snow, rain, and hail, can be intimidating. Combine this with driving alongside transport trucks, and you may have a very nerve-wracking trip. This doesn’t have to be the case; if you follow some basic tips, you can ensure a safe and successful drive.
Here are some tips for driving in harsh conditions, especially while sharing the road with transport trucks:
- Drive slowly. If an accident is inevitable, you would rather collide with another car or object while going 60km/h rather than 100km/h. Speed can kill, and arriving at your destination five minutes late is better than not arriving at all.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Remember that transport trucks can be loaded with thousands of pounds of freight, and simply cannot stop as quickly as you can.
- Always ensure your gas is at least half full to avoid gas line freezing. Your main goal is to arrive from point A to point B safely, and this requires a full tank of gas.
- Increase the dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance necessary if you have to stop.
- Keep the essentials in your vehicle. Pack a cellular telephone with your local CAA number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water. Also ensure you have an ice-scraper for full visibility and to wipe snow off of your headlights for full brightness.
Driving in harsh conditions, especially ice rain, can result in many accidents or dangerous situations. Always remember to stay calm and follow our tips for safe driving. Whether you’re a truck driver or a resident getting to work, we all have the same goal. Work together on the roads and create an accident-free environment.