Strathcona County, Alta. - Strathcona County RCMP remind motorists that winter driving can be challenging with rapidly changing weather and cooler temperatures.
Winter weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable, placing extra demands on your vehicle and driving skills. With snow, ice and slush on the roadway, it’s important to be extra cautious and to be prepared for emergencies.
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don’t go out until the snow plows have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions. Make sure that you clean ALL the snow and ice off of your car. This includes the windshield, back window, headlights, and taillights!
Additional winter driving tips:
- Try to keep your vehicle’s fuel tank more than half full. A topped-up gas tank will also be an asset if you become stranded.
- Signal well in advance of turning to give other motorists time to anticipate and react to your actions. Check your rearview and side mirrors, and always shoulder check before changing lanes.
- Keep your headlights on all the time - don’t rely on daytime running lights. Low beams are more effective than high beams in fog or heavy snow conditions.
- Slow down and drive with caution when the roads are wet or icy. Always leave a safe amount of distance between yourself and the vehicle you're following, especially on the highway. That way, if you need to make an emergency stop or your vehicle takes longer to stop due to road conditions; you'll have more time to do so.
- Ensure your vehicle tires are in very good condition, good winter tires are highly recommended. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather, worn or damaged tires can hamper your ability to drive safely.
- Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. The kit can include, but is not limited to food (that won't spoil), water, first aid kit, blanket, whistle, wind-up flashlight, jumper cables, salt/sand, tow rope, fire extinguisher, extra clothing (including gloves), and road maps.
Listen to the radio for road and weather updates and check road conditions before leaving. Plan extra time to get to your destination and consider delaying your trip in bad weather, and notify a friend or family member of your destination and anticipated arrival time.
“Winter weather conditions pose unique challenges and safety risks for all motorists on our roadway,” says Cpl. Gudmundson of the Strathcona County RCMP. “Being prepared for cold weather and winter driving conditions will help ensure that all road users stay safe.”