Whether you live in the Prairie provinces or the Maritimes, there’s one thing you have in common with every other driver in Canada:
You have to spend at least a quarter of the year, if not more, driving in less than ideal circumstances during the winter.
And with Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Boxing Day sales, among other important events occurring during the colder months, it’s not like you always have the option of staying home until spring.
Luckily we’ve put together 5 must-have tips for driving at night or during winter.
1. Drive Slowly
Half the fun of driving sometimes is the relaxation that comes with being able to hit the highway and cruise. During the winter or at night, where there’s the possibility of hitting an ice patch or otherwise having limited vision, there’s no need to rush. Slow down while driving even if means starting your trip early.
2. Lengthen Your Following Distance
Some drivers really like to maintain a bumper-to-bumper distance while weaving in and out of traffic. However, when driving at night or in winter conditions, it’s much safer to increase the distance between yourself and the car in front of you. This will give you as much time and space as you need in order to brake safely.
3. Make Sure That You Can See Through The Driver’s Side
Snow and hail don’t discriminate when it comes to where they fall. Before you go anywhere, it’s important to de-ice your windshield and wipe the snow off your mirrors so that you have visibility from the driver’s seat. If road conditions are such that you can’t see clearly, don’t hesitate to consider spending the night or calling an Uber.
4. Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving isn’t recommended even in ideal driving conditions. In fact, in most provinces, it’s illegal to use electronic devices while driving. However, during winter conditions, distracted driving can have particularly serious consequences. Sure, you might be trying to let a friend or a relative know that you’re hitting the road, but at the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Always Drive Sober
After having a couple of drinks at the company Christmas party or at a friend’s New Year’s shindig, it’s easy to underestimate just how buzzed you are. If you plan to consume alcohol or use marijuana in any capacity, have plans in place that don’t involve driving home. Instead, consider staying overnight, calling an Uber or taxi, or asking a friend to be your designated driver.