Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Winter Driving Tips (Part I)

(DUFFERIN COUNTY, ON) - As the winter months are fast approaching, the Dufferin County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind motorists to take extra precaution when driving on our roadways. This is Part 1 of a 2 - part series focusing on safety tips to keep in mind when travelling during winter months.

Stay Alert, Well Rested and Sober - Since weather conditions change rapidly it places extra demands on your vehicle and your driving skills. Keep your focus on the road and on other vehicles. Anticipate other drivers’ actions. Remember also that seat belts save lives. Children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat, safely seated in a car seat or booster seat made for their size and age.

Slow Down and Pay Attention - Always drive according to weather conditions. Remember to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The four-second rule applies during winter months. If you are travelling at a rate of speed higher than reasonable or you lose control of your car given the road condition and become involved in a motor vehicle collision, it could result in possible charges. Loss of control can be traced directly back to driver error, resulting in a Highway Traffic Act charge. Remember to drop your speed to match road conditions. Regardless of driving experience, the way your car will move on snow or ice always has an element of unpredictability. Watch for black ice which can be located in shaded areas, bridges and overpasses. Don’t tailgate because stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement.

Remain in Control of Your Vehicle - Know how to handle your vehicle in all weather conditions. Practice safety skills. By reading the owner’s manual you will learn about your vehicle’s braking system and tire traction. If you are not confident to drive during the winter months, consider taking a winter driving course. Don’t use cruise control, it forfeits control by allowing the vehicle to accelerate on its’ own.