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Winter Driving 101: How To Stay Safe On Ottawa’s Snowy Roads

Navigating snowy and icy roads can be daunting, especially for new drivers. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can stay safe on Ottawa’s winter roads. In this blog post, we’ll share essential tips and precautions to help you drive confidently and securely during the winter season.

Check Your Vehicle:
Before hitting the winter roads, ensure your vehicle is winter-ready. Check the tire tread depth and consider switching to winter tires for improved traction. Verify that all lights are functioning correctly, and make sure your windshield wipers are in excellent condition. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid fuel line freezing.

Plan Ahead:
Winter driving in Ottawa often involves navigating through snowy and slushy roads. Plan your routes in advance, leaving extra time for travel to accommodate potential delays due to weather conditions. Check local weather forecasts and road conditions to stay informed about any advisories or warnings.

Reduce Speed and Increase Following Distance:
Slowing down is crucial during winter driving. Reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow for ample stopping distance. In icy conditions, it takes longer to come to a complete stop, so drive at a speed appropriate for the road conditions.

Gentle Braking and Acceleration:
Avoid sudden braking or acceleration, as this can lead to skidding on slippery surfaces. Practice gentle braking and acceleration to maintain better control over your vehicle.

Know How to Handle Skids:
Skids are common on icy roads, but knowing how to handle them can prevent accidents. If you start to skid, gently steer in the direction you want to go and avoid overcorrecting. This will help you regain control of your vehicle.

Watch for Black Ice:
Be vigilant for black ice, which is often invisible but highly hazardous. Black ice forms when the temperature drops, causing moisture on the road to freeze. Drive cautiously, especially on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas where black ice tends to form first.

Clear Snow and Ice:
Always clear all snow and ice from your vehicle before starting your journey. This includes the roof, hood, windows, and lights. Snow flying off your car can be dangerous to other drivers, and obscured windows can hinder your visibility.

Stay Informed and Updated:
Keep yourself informed about road closures, weather updates, and traffic advisories in Ottawa. Check the city’s website or use traffic apps to stay updated on current road conditions.

Conclusion:
Driving in winter requires extra caution and preparation. By following these winter driving tips and staying aware of the unique challenges winter presents, you can enjoy a safe and stress-free driving experience. Remember, the key to winter driving is to take it slow, be prepared, and prioritize safety at all times.

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