Debunking winter driving myths

Dan Maisonneuve talks about the winter driving in Canada.

  • Dec. 20, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Dan Maisonneuve

Dealer Principal of Kicking Horse Ford

 

It has been predicted that this could be one of the coldest winters in B.C. in 20 years (AccuWeather) and, as a result, there could be more frequent light snowfall throughout the province. With snow already fallen across B.C. and icy conditions hitting our roads, it’s important for our community members to be winter-driving savvy. Many Canadian drivers have misconceptions about what we need to do to make our vehicles as safe as possible but we can all make winter a little easier on ourselves if we just prepare for it. Here, we set the facts straight on five common winter driving myths:

1. The worst winter accidents happen during the first snowfall.

-After the first snowfall of the season, drivers are often more careful. The worst winter accidents actually happen later into the season. Once drivers have been driving on snowy roads for a while, they tend to think they’ve adapted to winter roads and they don’t slow down and take the precautions drivers do at first snowfall.

2. I only need to check my tire pressure every few months

-During spring, summer and fall, you should check your tire pressure every month, however, in winter, you should check the pressure more often. When the temperature fluctuates, so does your tire pressure which makes it more difficult to maintain. When your tire pressure is low, your car won’t respond as well to turns and your traction will be compromised.

3. All-season tires are just as good as winter tires.

-Winter tires are designed to maintain their elasticity in cold temperatures. They have even been found to improve braking by 25 per cent, and can improve collision avoidance by up to 38 per cent.

4. I have all-wheel drive, I don’t need winter tires.

-Even with a truck or an SUV, the problem with all-season tires comes when you try to stop or swerve in a hurry. These vehicles need winter tires just as much as cars do. The grooves on winter tires are 30 per cent deeper than all-season tires, allowing your vehicle to grip better on snowy or icy roads.

5. I don’t need winter tires on all four wheels.

-The truth is putting two winter tires on your vehicle is more dangerous than using four all-season tires. When you have two winter tires at one end of your car, you’re essentially creating the condition where one end of your car has a lot of grip on the road and the other has no grip whatsoever. This drastically increases your chances of spinning out.

Learning to separate winter driving fact from fiction will help keep your family as safe as possible on winter roads. Both Transport Canada and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) recommend that four snow tires be installed on your car.

Dan Maisonneuve is the Dealer Principal of Kicking Horse Ford.

 

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