Posted on September 8, 2018
How To Drive in All Kinds of Weather | Ontario, Canada
Winter driving gets a lot of attention here in Ontario, and for good reason. Ever watched the news when it suddenly snows in a place where snow isn’t all that common? Chaos. We Ontarians like to pride ourselves on having mad skills in the winter driving department. But it isn’t just winter road conditions that can challenge even the most intrepid driver. With recent record rainfall in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, we thought we’d better talk about the other weather-related driving tips that tend to be overshadowed.
- Prepare for gusts. Both hands should be on the steering wheel, especially if driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer.
- Notice trucks and other larger vehicles. Tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles have a harder time in windy situations due to their length. With more surface area to catch a gust, they may have notable difficulties staying in their lanes. Give them space.
- Save that Bluetooth shouting match with the spouse or kids for another day. Not that there’s any good time for distracted driving. Just because you’re hands-free doesn’t mean your attention isn’t divided.
- Slow down. No really, slow down. If you don’t want to hydroplane—and you really don’t want to—reduce your speed in heavy rain conditions. If it has only just started to rain, hold back. The combination of fresh rainfall and the oils on roadways can make for dangerously slick conditions that can be just as dangerous as black ice. Wait a few minutes, then hit the road—slowly.
- No matter what time of day it is, turn your headlights on. Most new vehicles have an auto-on feature for the headlights, but just in case yours doesn’t, flip em on. Help other vehicles and pedestrians see you coming.
- Give everyone extra room. If you’re a tail-gating speed demon, this means you. Even if you’re not, allow extra space between you and the car in front of you in case an unforeseen situation requires sudden breaking.
- That road that turned into a river while you were shopping? That underpass that looks like a lake? This is not your opportunity to find out whether your car doubles as an amphibious vehicle. You can seriously damage the sensitive electronic components in your car if they become submerged in water. And until you’re pounding through that puddle, you’ll have no real idea how deep it is. Damage can hover in the thousands, as well as impacting resale value if damp wires and components corrode from undetected moisture. Play it safe and head for higher ground till the deluge passes. Those of you with Jeeps will be tempted to plough through, but be sure you have the adequate trail rating for fording before even testing this out.
- Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare and protect your eyes. Plus, you’ll look even foxier driving that Dodge Hellcat.
- Use that sun visor – it’s not just there to store your receipts behind!
- Give that driver in front of you extra room. Bright sun in your eyes can make it challenging to see what the car ahead of you is doing. Are those brake lights? As in heavy rain and snowstorms, give fellow drivers plenty of room.
- Turn your headlights on; it will help others to see you coming. Keep them clean, too, or turning them on won’t make much difference.
- Keep your windshield clean, inside and out, and check for cracks and pitting that could mar your ability to see in super-bright conditions.
- Keep the dashboard clear of parking receipts, papers and other debris. (Yes, that includes chocolate bar wrappers.) These can reflect into the windshield and distract your focus.
- As with any low-visibility conditions, lower your speed and give the person ahead of you extra room in the event that they have to brake suddenly.
- Turn on your low-beams. Some car headlights have specialized settings for fog, but most cars have a low-beam setting. Use it. Higher beams of light will bounce back at you in foggy conditions, making it even harder to see.
No matter what the weather, it pays to slow down a little (we know it's hard), give your fellow weather-navigators some extra space and we'll all get there safely.
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