Strathcona County RCMP Urges Preparation and Patience in Winter Driving

Sherwood Park, Alta. – Winter driving on snow covered roads and highways can be a pleasant adventure or it can be frustrating, tiring and sometimes even hazardous. Driving during the winter months can be stressful. It doesn’t matter whether you are travelling during the holidays or running errands, everyone should be prepared to cope with the difficulties of winter driving.

If road conditions are dangerous, consider making alternate travel arrangements or postponing your trip until conditions improve

Winter weather conditions are often unpredictable and motorists should adjust their driving habits by following these driving safety tips;

  • Always give yourself extra time to clear frost and snow from car windows, side mirrors, headlights and tail lights before hitting the road. Make sure windows are completely defrosted before entering the roadway.
  • 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.
  • Ensure your vehicle tires are in very good condition, good winter tires are highly recommended.
  • 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 Cst. Chantelle Kelly of the Strathcona County RCMP. “Being prepared for cold weather and winter driving conditions will help ensure that all road users stay safe.”