Marc Trioreau, RCMP Community Policing Officer for the Trinity Conception
Winter driving tips (February, 2003)
Over the last few weeks we really got all kinds of weather. This
made driving quite difficult, not to say dangerous. For this reason, here
are some winter driving tips.
Local weather offices of Environment Canada issue warnings of impending
blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain or drizzle, cold waves and winds.
Know the hazards: Blizzard
The most perilous of winter storms combining falling, blowing, drifting
snow, winds of 40 km/hour or more, visibility less than 1 km, temperatures
less than -10_C; duration: six hours or more.
Ten centimeters or more in 12 hours, or 15 cm or more in 24 hours. Even
less in temperate climates.
Freezing rain or drizzle
An ice storm coating roads, trees, overhead wires, etc. with ice.
A rapid fall in temperature in a short period, requiring greater than
normal protective measures.
The cause of blizzard conditions, drifting, reduced visibility and
Tune up your car
Winter weather presents the greatest challenge to your car and its engine.
Prepare for winter by getting a complete check-up in the fall. The
following systems should be checked:
Battery: Cold weather starts require a battery that is fully
charged. Recharge or replace weak batteries. Have your charging system
Ignition system: Damaged ignition wires or a cracked distributor
cap may cause a sudden breakdown.
Lights: Regularly check that all lights are functioning properly
and that headlights are properly aimed.
Brakes: Brakes should be checked and, if needed, serviced to ensure
Tires: The traction between the tires and the road surface
determines how well your vehicle starts, turns and stops. Make certain
your snow tires or all-season radials are properly inflated and in good
condition. Ensure all four tires have the same tread pattern for even
The exhaust system: Have the exhaust system fully checked for leaks
that could send carbon monoxide into your vehicle.
Heating and cooling system: Check your radiator and hoses for
cracks and leaks. Make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat
work properly. Test the strength of the anti-freeze, and test the
functioning of the heater and defroster.
Windshield: Make sure wipers are in good condition and fill up on
winter washer fluid.
Prepare the driver
-If you must drive in bad weather, plan ahead and make sure you have
-See and be seen; clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights.
Clear all windows of fog. If visibility becomes poor, find a place to
safely pull off the road as soon as possible.
-Try to keep to main roads.
-Wear warm clothes that do not restrict movement.
-Drive with caution. Measure your speed to conditions.
-Don't press on. If the going gets tough, turn back or seek refuge.
-Avoid overtaking another vehicle if possible, when weather conditions and
roads are bad.
-Keep your radio tuned to a local station for weather advice.
-Buckle up at all times. Properly secure small children in child
-Don't drive after drinking alcohol and don't drive if you're feeling
-In bad weather, let someone know your route and intended arrival time, so
you can be searched for, if you don't turn up after a reasonable delay.
If you have any suggestions, ideas or
comments in relation to this article, please feel free to let me know.