Everybody loves snow: the magic atmosphere that snow creates, the pure white and the calm silence of the road when it is snowing, that peaceful feeling… Unfortunately, when it comes to winter driving, there is no room for dreaming. You need to be equipped, focused and prepared to face any kind of emergency, especially if you are about to leave the comfort of your warm house and drive in the snow. Here is all you need to know about winter driving, for driving safely and to avoid Tow Truck in Edmonton!
Winter is here.
Preparing for winter driving and avoiding emergency calls to towing companies (even the best in Edmonton, AB) during this particular season means getting ready on time. It is important to start thinking about it before winter actually comes, as there are a lot of things to be done on time.
First of all, your vehicle. In order to drive safely, the most important thing is to prepare your vehicle for winter driving. Bad weather conditions and road’s surfaces can be really challenging during this particular time, that is why you have to double check everything inside and outside and make sure that your vehicle is ready to hit the road. It is better to have a micromanaging attitude at first not to end up stuck in the highway or in the snow because of your malpractice later, right?!
The best thing to do is to start with your tires: get snow tires not only for your drive wheels but for the four of them, and make sure that they match in tread patterns, internal construction and size, so that your driving can be handled more easily. After check the pressure: tire pressure goes down in the cold, so you should do your check when the tires are cold (it is preferable when it is below zero outside).
Winter driving can also be tough for the whole car, so make sure to get a complete check-up not only for your tires, but also for: the battery, it needs to be clean and fully charged for the engine to start; your seat belt, one of the most important thing to guarantee your safety; the ignition system, it is a trouble maker during bad weather and low temperatures, so replace it if something is not perfect; lights and headlights, because you always need them to work flawlessly, especially if you need to advice other drivers for a particular problem that has occurred to your car; brakes, they need to be in perfect shape, especially when you have to face ice or snow; wipers, you have to replace blades that streak, buying wipers for winter use and also make sure to fill up on winter washer and carry an extra tank with you; heating system, you never know what is going to happen on the road, so check it properly and also check the defroster, because you are going to need them for sure.
After having checked the vehicle, what about preparing the driver? Yes, there are a lot of courses to attend if you need to be full prepared for driving in winter and in difficult conditions. You can learn how to set everything, how to manage your car’s check up, how to drive in troubled weather and how to avoid car accidents. During these courses the instructors will show you how to control your vehicle on ice, wet snow or storm on tracks prepared for this particular purpose and without any risk for your secureness. You can learn how to brake, accelerate or turn accurately on tracks with poor traction. After having attended your winter driving course, snow and ice will no longer be a reason to panic for you! Take a look at the winter driving course in Edmonton from AMA, The Alberta Motor Association affiliated with both the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA).
Prepare your Emergency Kit.
After having checked your vehicle, you have to think about the safety of your trip, even if you just have to commute to work or school. You need an Emergency Kit and keep it in your vehicle all winter. You will need these items:
- proper winter clothing end extra clothing and boots for you, your family and your kids;
- wool blankets;
- food that won’t spoil, such as energy or granola bars, cereals or any long-keeping feeding-stuffs;
- plastic bottles of water that will not break with cold temperature (remember to change them once in a while);
- first aid kit;
- wind-up flashlights;
- shovel, snowbrush and antifreeze;
- reflector suits and whistle, for your safety if you need to attract attention;
- warning light or road flares;
- a citizen’s band (CB) radio, if you always drive in areas with very poor reception and bad weather conditions;
- sand, salt or cat litter.
Before you leave, also remember to bring your personal documents and to recharge your cellphone. In case you need to stay out on the road for a while, buy an USB car charger: you can easily charge your cellphone while driving. Also take a navigation system or roadmaps with you!
Research a towing company.
We know, we are telling you how not to call a towing company in Edmonton, but it is better to be prepared in case of emergency and to know who to call and trust! The last thing you need is to be extra-charged or to get a nasty surprise when you have no idea who to call and how much you are about to pay. Some truck drivers may try to take advantage of your mishap, charging a lot of money for the service. So, research a good one before you need it! First of all, ask your relatives or your friends if they know a good and trusted one: it is easier and fast. Second of all, do some research online, reading clients’ feedback and personal experiences with them. When you find the company or the companies you like the most for their reliability or services, add their numbers on your cellphone. Always double check if they accept credit card, because some of them may require only cash. Anyway, always bring some cash with you in order to face any kind of emergency wherever you are, especially if you are stuck close to small towns where credit card is not so common. Of course, here is our fare and services, as we guarantee 24/7 Fast and Reliable Service!
Visit www.weatheroffice.gc.ca before deciding to plan your trip. The best thing to do should be not to put yourself on the road if not strictly necessary, trying to postpone the driving session when the bad weather conditions are over. The website can easily tell you if and when winter storms or blizzards, heavy snow or rain, cold snaps and winds are expected, also giving you some advices about the most congested roads and about on-going traffic jams. Anyway, if you have a daily or regular commute trip to do take some extra precautions. Always tell someone where you are going, your route and when you expect to arrive and be careful during the entire trip, even if you know the road with your eyes closed. Furthermore, give yourself extra time to get to your destination, so that you will not be in hurry or late. Drive slow and safe is the best policy!
Drive safe (and slowly)!
You are ready to go. Make sure there is enough fuel and your vehicle is fully checked and equipped, as mentioned earlier. Rest properly before hitting the road and put your seatbelt on! If you are driving solo and you need to make those phone calls that can keep you company, make sure to buy and charge your Bluetooth headset: driving and talking or texting at the same time is not allowed! Before getting in the car, remember that your visibility and the one of other drivers is really important to avoid accidents, so remove snow from all your lights and from your vehicle’s windows and defrost them immediately. It is a good thing to put some newspaper on your windows during the night, in order to reduce ice formation.
You are finally driving. Remember to adjust your driving to meet road and weather conditions, that can be very variable. The first thing to do is to slow down and give yourself more space in between the car ahead in order to be safe and quiet during your trip. Driving fast, close to the edge, is the easiest way to end up in a ditch! So keep your vehicle in the straight stretches and not in the corner or close to the edges, especially when you have to reverse (wherever it is allowed of course!) hitting edges filled with snow but not knowing what is underneath. If you loose traction while reversing it is highly probable to end up stuck in the snow. You have to be particularly careful to avoid the most common issues as water-filled ditches, sliding off your driveways, sliding on the ice just by braking or backing out (that is why it is better to drive slow, so that you have space and time to stop your car in the safest way possible), battery boosts due to the cold weather and challenging temperatures. Also avoiding passing another vehicle during bad weather and road conditions is a really smart thing to know.
And if something goes wrong…
Anyway, you need to be prepared that something can go wrong indeed. If something really goes wrong, first thing to remember is to stay calm, because your panic reaction can affect your stop or your safeness or other drivers’ safeness. Plus, you need to know some important and basic rules for winter driving. Even if you have checked your vehicle’s braking system and tire traction, there are some things you have to keep in mind. Forceful braking or sudden, jerking movement of the wheel can have the opposite effect: in fact, you are not supposed to brake at all if you loose control on the ice, as the car will slip away. Focus on the safest spot and gently pull over.
Moreover, when visibility becomes poor, safely pull off the road in a fast but secure way. Rest areas or exit the roadway are the safest choices: you can wait there, rest and decide what is the best and fast thing to do. If you stop in a safe way and you need to wait for help stay inside, keep windows closed in order to maintain a warm temperature inside the cabin and keep your seatbelt on. On the contrary, if you need to go outside and ask for help, remember that lack of visibility also requests to put on your emergency flashers and turn on your hazard lights. If you are well prepared and you followed our instructions, you will be able to to make a phone call and to wait for help. You can use your survival kit, wear your reflector suit, and wait in the safest way possible. Stay vigil: there is no safe place in the road. And if you cannot call your tow company remember that your cellphone allows emergency calls.
You have done everything to make sure that you, your family and kids and even other drivers can be safe during your trip. There is just one thing left to do: relax a little and have fun! Stretch your legs by making a quick stop in a rest area or to a dining, enjoy for a moment a cup of coffee or tea that can warm you in cold temperature and have fun with kids playing snowballs and, of course… drive safe!