With the arrival of the first snowfall of the season today and tomorrow, the RCMP is issuing a vital reminder to motorists to exercise extra caution on the roads and adapt their driving habits to the changing weather conditions.

Some drivers are unprepared for the annual transition from the dry pavement of summer to winter driving conditions that can include snow and slush-covered highways, black ice and blizzards.

The first snowfall is a reminder and an opportunity to get prepared for winter driving, which also means preparing our vehicles and adjusting our driving.

For those venturing out onto the winter roads or preparing for the season, here are some essential road safety tips to consider:

Tips for Winter Driving:

  1. Keep Your Headlights On: Maintain your headlights on at all times, even during the daytime. This enhances your visibility to others on the road and ensures you can see better, especially in adverse weather conditions.

  2. Ensure Vehicle Readiness: Prioritize vehicle maintenance to guarantee it's in a safe mechanical condition. Adequate tire tread, functioning brakes, and proper fluid levels are all crucial for safe winter driving.

  3. Avoid Cruise Control: Do not use cruise control in winter conditions. It's essential to have full control over your vehicle to react quickly to changing road conditions and potential hazards.

  4. Choose Appropriate Tires: If your vehicle is equipped with summer tires, it is not recommended to travel in winter conditions. Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better traction and handling in cold and snowy conditions.

  5. Increase Following Distance: On wet or slick surfaces, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop safely. This additional space provides more time to react to sudden stops and slippery roads.

  6. Watch for Slippery Bridge Decks: Keep in mind that bridge decks may be slippery even when other parts of the highway are not. Exercise caution when crossing them.

  7. Emergency Road Kit: It's imperative to keep an emergency road kit in your vehicle, which should include essential supplies such as a blanket or sleeping bag, extra clothing and footwear, non-perishable food, a candle in a deep tin, waterproof matches, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, booster cables, an ice scraper, a snow brush, paper towels or rags, a road map, a compass, sand, road salt, or kitty litter, and a shovel.

  8. Charged Cell Phone: Always have a fully charged cell phone on hand for emergencies, and consider carrying a backup power source, such as a portable charger.

Implementing these road safety tips can make a significant difference in your safety and the safety of others on the road. By being prepared and adjusting your driving habits, you can navigate the challenges of winter driving with confidence and minimize the risk of accidents during the snowy months.

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