Vancouverites don’t normally have to contend with weeks on end of snowy, slushy, slippery streets like the rest of the country, however we could definitely use an education in winter road safety all the same. Last month Toyota Canada hosted a winter driving workshop at the Richmond Olympic Oval and offered up a few driving tips for locals:
- Tires: Check the air pressure since cold weather causes tire pressure to decrease and that can affect the degree of grip your tires have with the road surface. The condition of tires also is important as worn or damaged tires can hamper your driving ability. It is best to replace tires before the tread depth is the regulatory 1.55mm.
- Winterize: Be sure to check your battery, oil and all fluids, brakes, lights, and engine belts and hoses. What works in warm weather may not work so well when temperatures fall.
- Plan Ahead: Before heading out check weather and road conditions and ensure you have plenty of time to reach your destination safely. Around here Drive BC is a great resource where you can learn about current road conditions and check out several BC highway webcams. You can also follow @DriveBC on Twitter.
- Ice & Snow: Be sure to clear off any ice and snow from your vehicle before you hit the road (especially if you just came from the mountain). I’ve been on the freeway when a sheet of snow (2 inches thick and 3 feet wide) has fallen off the roof of the car in front of me. Pretty scary. Also, clear all of your windows and your mirrors to enhance your own lines of sight.
- Cruise Control: Avoid slipping into auto-pilot as you’ll want to feel the responsiveness of your vehicle yourself.
I think most of all, common sense is paramount. Avoid speeding, tailgating, and follow the regular rules of the road with caution. I was told on my driver’s test that the posted maximum speed is the limit “under ideal conditions” so take your time if you need to. While there’s rain in the city, the Sea to Sky, Highway 1, Coquihalla, and local mountains have already seen their share of severe winter conditions.
To help you out this season, Toyota is offering up a prize pack for one of my readers, valued at $100. It includes: A Toyota Winter Car Kit (including everything from jumper cables and bungee cords to hand warmers), some snacks for the road, and a Starbucks gift card. Here’s how you can enter to win:
- Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
- Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
I will draw one winner at random from all entries next Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 1:00pm.
Update The winner is Jewel!