Vancouver sure looks magical when it’s covered in snow.
At least maybe a day or two, before the snow turns to slush and the roads become difficult to navigate. This could mean the lineups for the bus and SkyTrain are insanely long, and you have no other option than to drive.
Whether you’re driving to work or departing on a winter road trip, you’ll want to make sure that you reach your destination safely. And in the winter, you need to take extra precautions to make sure your vehicle is winter-ready, and that starts from the bottom up – with your tires.
Check your tire pressure, because this drops fast in the cold. Keep the gas tank at least half-full to avoid freezing, and top up your windshield wiper fluid.
You’ll want to make sure that you have winter tires or chains ready so that you can put them on your car when there’s snowy and icy conditions on the roads.
You may not have known but from October 1, you’ll be required by BC law to have snow tires and chains on designated highways. And if you’re caught on these roads without them, you could get a fine of more than $100 dollars, or for not having a proper winter tire depth of at least 3.5 mm. Most accidents happen on around the time of the first winter snowfall and you really don’t want to be involved in any of them.
You’ll also want to make sure your tires don’t break the seven degree rule this winter. The rubber in all-season tires starts to harden (think of a hockey puck) when temperatures drop below seven degrees celsius. The harder it gets, the less traction tires have. Winter tires are made with rubber that stays softer in the cold. They also have treads designed to grip ice and snow. So it’s essential that you have them on your car this season.
When you’re driving in the snow, use low beam lights and don’t use cruise control. If your car has standard brakes, simply pump them gently, or for ABS – apply steady pressure.
It’s always safe to be over prepared than under prepared and one way you can do this is by packing an emergency kit in your car. You could include things like blankets and food in case you get stranded or stuck somewhere during your journey, having to wait for roadside assistance.
Once you’re on the road this winter make sure you avoid sudden movements. Accelerate gently, steer and turn gradually, and brake slowly and early. Plan turns, stops and lane changes early, to make sure your safety is your priority.