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When you wake up to a winter storm and check current road conditions only to find they're less than favourable, you have two options: stay safe and warm at home or venture out and brave the winter roads. For many of us, we're faced with no choice but to drive on snowy, icy roads. Those of us who grew up in Canada know that driving in snow or other winter road conditions is no joke - but it's often our only choice!

To help keep you and your family safe on winter roads, here are 5 tips for driving in the winter.

5 Tips for Driving in Winter Conditions

1. Check current road conditions before heading out.
2. Plan your route.
3. Allow for extra time.
4. Keep more space between you and other vehicles.
5. Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times.

Current Road Conditions

Before you go, it's important to know what you could be facing on the road. Whether you're just making a quick trip or a longer journey, be sure to check highway conditions and other roads near you before you head out. Once you've had a look at road conditions, you can plan your driving route.

Plan Your Route

Once you've checked road conditions, you'll have an idea of the roads you should avoid if possible, as well as road closures that might impact your route. Then, you can plan the fastests - and most importantly, the safest! - route to your destination. 

Leave More Time to Travel

Maybe it only takes you 20 minutes to get to work in the summer, but winter roads are a whole new ball game. When you're driving in winter conditions, always leave yourself more time to get to your destination. Not only does this help ensure you arrive on time, but it also helps make sure you arrive safely because you weren't in a rush.

Allow More Space Between You and Other Vehicles

We know it takes more time to slow down and stop in slippery conditions, which means it's important to leave more space between you and other cars.

Under normal circumstances, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends a two-second rule:

"1. Pick a marker on the road ahead, such as a road sign.

2. When the rear of the vehicle ahead passes the marker, count 'one thousand and one, one thousand and two'.

3. When the front of your vehicle reaches the marker, stop counting. If you reach the marker before you count 'one thousand and two', you are following too closely."

When it comes to driving conditions, drivers should double the two-second rule and ensure there are four seconds of space between you and other vehicles.

Pack An Emergency Kit

In case you're ever stranded on the road, whether in winter or not, having an emergency kit packed in your car is always advised.

Here are some essentials to keep in an emergency kit in your car:

  • A three-day supply of food and water
  • Flashlight with emergency flasher
  • Thermal blankets/emergency blanket
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Window breaker and seatbelt cutter (within arm's reach of the driver)
  • Waterproof poncho
  • Portable radio

With these 5 tips in mind, you'll help keep you and your family safe on the road. But in the event your vehicle is damaged in an accident, it's also essential to have the proper insurance coverage in place. In Ontario, the law requires drivers to have Liability, Accident, Benefits, Uninsured Automobile and Direct Compensation on thier auto insurance policy. But there may be other forms of optional coverage that would work well for you.

Want to learn more about your car insurance options to give you the best protection? Get in touch with us today so we can help.