5 Winter Driving Tips for Preventing Accidents
Calgary’s winter can be long, cold and hard when it comes to driving in snow fall. Roads can become extremely slippery and unsafe to drive on no matter the vehicle you own.
There are some things you can focus on more intently to prevent yourself from getting into a motor vehicle accident during the winter.
While they might seem like common sense, we would like to remind anyone who’s interested in safety tips for winter driving in Calgary what they are.
Here are five safety tips for driving in snowy / icy conditions in Calgary.
- Also see these 20 Tips to Winterizing Your Calgary Home
Tip #1 – Keep a Snow Brush Handy
Always have a snow brush in your vehicle always as you never really know when the snow is going to fall in Calgary! There’s been snowfall in all months between September and June before, so be prepared!
Even if there’s a warm underground parking spot waiting for you at your destination, you should still have a brush on hand. If there’s the chance you’ll be parking on the street, this is especially true.
Snow can fall without warning in Calgary. It’s always better to scrape the snow / ice off your windshields with a brush instead of your hand or waiting for de-frost to kick in.
- Also see these 3 Things You Need to Endure Calgary’s Winter
Tip #2 – Signal Well in Advance
When you’re driving in snowy / icy conditions in Calgary, it’s always important to be a little more conscientious of the vehicles around you when compared to seasons with better road conditions.
Instead of signaling a few seconds before switching lanes, try to add on few more seconds so that others are aware ahead of time of what you’re doing on the road. Most of the time, the dangerous aspect of driving in winter / snowy / icy weather is what other vehicles are doing around you.
I’ve seen vehicles slow down to a complete stop on Crowchild Trail with no traffic ahead of them but cars only 30 metres behind so that they could help a car stuck on the side of the road. The conditions behind them spinning into the other lanes, but thankfully there were no cars coming so no one was hurt.
It’s unavoidable and unpredictable situations like these we should always be aware of when driving in the winter and / or during snowy weather. Sometimes a few more seconds of signalling or slowing down can make all the difference in the world.
Tip #3 – Check News & Radio for Closures / Delays
Often when the snow starts to fall in Calgary, both radio and news stations will broadcast route closures and delays due to the weather. It’s always better to know where these routes are so that you can plan ahead, especially if you work across the city or somewhere that takes a lot of time to get to.
A good source of route closures and delays are local news station breakfast morning shows as well as most radio stations. QR77 is particularly keen on providing route closure / delay information.
- Also see City of Calgary – Road Closures here
Tip #4 – Use Google Maps Traffic Sensors
When the weather is bad and you’re not too sure about how the traffic is like between point A and B, you can always put your destination’s address into Google Maps to check for traffic blockages.
In my experience, Google Maps has always been accurate at detecting traffic jams. Sometimes it may say a route is more congested than it is, but that just makes for a nice surprise when you see that it’s not.
We encourage you to do this in a manner that doesn’t have you fiddling with your phone while driving because that is how accidents happen – and it’s illegal anyways.
Accidents can happen in a split second especially when the roads are slippery, so please consider also buying a phone stand you can put on your dash so that you can use Google maps safely and check traffic along the route without being distracted by your phone.
This brings us to our last, but possibly the most important safety tip for driving in Calgary’s winter.
Tip #5 – Put Your Phone Down!
I know a lot of us may think that we have become experts at texting and driving, but it takes just a split second where somebody stops in front of us or is walking across the street for tragedy to happen.
The financial loss of higher insurance rates and potential vehicle repairs aren’t the only downside. You could very well be held criminally responsible for hurting others if you’re driving distracted!
Drive safe and have a great rest of your winter! Hopefully the snow dies down soon and spring is here in a jiffy!