Ah, the joys of winter! The cool and air, the great snow banks and breathtaking views from the top of the slopes give us daily joy. While facing fresh powder on the slopes is exhilarating, facing it on the road is not as much.
During the Winter of 2019, 11,166 People Were Involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Statistics from the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) (available in French only) reveal that from 2015 to 2019, 53% of winter road accidents occurred on snowy, icy or snow-covered roads. Inattentiveness or distractions (44%), weather conditions (29%) and speed (21%) were among the most frequently cited causes.
Taking precautions drastically reduces our risk of road accidents in winter; here are 10 to consider:
1. Avoid abrupt steering wheel movements
Sudden steering wheel movements can cause your vehicle to skid. Use caution when turning and braking gradually when driving in winter.
2. Equip your car properly
As soon as the temperature drops below 7° Celsius, it is recommended to put on winter tires, even if the required deadline is still far away. And forget 4-season tires: only winter tires remain flexible even at -40° Celsius.
3. Drive slower
While reducing your winter driving speed is necessary for your safety, get into the habit of testing the road. When leaving your yard, if there is no one around, gradually apply the brake. If you feel that the grip is bad, greatly reduce your driving speed.
4. Keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of you
Keep a minimum distance of 6 seconds from vehicles ahead. Reaction speed is the key to good safety.
5. Brake early
Even with a 6-second distance to the vehicle in front of you, get into the habit of braking earlier in winter to reduce the risk of collisions.
6. Check road conditions in advance
Check the road conditions before driving during winter. Don't hesitate to postpone your trips!
7. Clear your car of snow
It is forbidden to drive with a vehicle covered in snow. This practice is dangerous for your visibility as well as for that of other motorists since the snow can come off.
8. Avoid distractions while driving
Remember, inattentiveness or distractions are the cause of 44% of winter road accidents. Put your phone away and focus on the road!
9. Make sure you can call in an emergency
Your phone needs to be properly stored, but also properly charged. If you have a technical problem on the road in the middle of winter, you need to be able to call quickly.
10. Prepare an emergency kit
Make sure you are prepared for any eventuality by leaving an emergency kit in your car. You can purchase turnkey kits or assemble a more complete one yourself by including the following items:
- A snow broom
- A shovel
- Spare fuses
- De-icing bag (sand or salt)
- Windshield washer and antifreeze
- Lock de-icer
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- A first aid kit
- Some tools (screwdrivers, pliers, scissors)
- Emergency flares
- Booster cables
- Warm blankets
- Gloves and a change of clothing (socks and boots)
- Hand and foot warmers
- Cell phone charger
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
This winter, make your safety a priority by adjusting your driving and habits. And if, despite all your precautions, an accident should occur, make sure you are financially protected. Consult Lussier's brokers today for protection adapted to your needs!