Winter Driving Safety Tips

Whether you are renting a car in Toronto or driving your own vehicle back home in the suburbs it is always a smart idea to refresh yourself with some safe driving tips for winter. These tips could not only save you from damaging your vehicle but could also save a life. The weather is predicted to get pretty rough this winter so the best time to relearn these safe driving tips is right now and not 7:30 in the morning on your way into work after an ice storm.


Take Things Slow

The easiest and safest tip you will see today that applies to both your car and rental cars is to simply take things slow. Give yourself extra time to get to work in bad weather, there is no need to be speeding on icy roads trying to pass a snowplow just because you slept in it.

This doesn’t just mean slowing down while your driving, give yourself more time to accelerate and decelerate as well. A major cause of accidents during winter are people trying to accelerate quickly out of a stop sign trying to beat the oncoming traffic only to spin the tires on the snow and ice and not go anywhere.

Make sure to always leave at least 3-4 car lengths between you and the car in front of you, it takes longer to stop in the winter and slamming on the brakes can cause you to lose control of the car.

If you are renting one of our cars it is always a good idea to give yourself a few minutes to get yourself familiar with the rental car. Get a feel for the acceleration and braking, make sure the mirrors are adjusted properly and make sure your phone is connected to the Bluetooth.


Keep Your Vehicle’s Fluids Topped Up

If you’re renting a car you won’t have to worry about this because we always make sure that the wiper fluid and gas tank are topped off when you pick up the car. There is nothing worse than driving down the highway with transports kicking up slush and not being able to wipe it off the windshield with the wiper fluid. The wipers themselves just move everything around and leave streaks right in your field of view, making you a danger on the road.

It is also a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full because even though you will probably never be too far from a gas station you don’t want to be caught on empty when it is -20 outside.


Learn To Control A Skid

This is a crucial skill that everyone with a driver’s license should know and hopefully never have to use. Learning to control a skid is super easy to do and could save yourself and your car.

If you feel your car losing control, your initial reaction will be to turn out of the skid and slam on the breaks but that shifts the weight of the vehicle forward which will give you even less control. You will need to fight your instincts and turn into the skid and lightly press the accelerator. Turning into the skid will help you gain control of the car again and stepping on the gas will move the weight of the car to the back which will give you more traction.

Winter Driving Quick Tips

Don’t Pump Your Brakes: pumping your brakes was useful information 40 years ago but now ABS (Anti-Lock Braking Systems) is standard on all vehicles and it will control the pulsing for you. Just apply the break and the ABS will do the rest.

Don’t Use Cruise Control: Driving in the winter is all about control, the last thing you want to do on icy roads is give up another level of control.

Pay Attention: This seems like a no-brainer but in reality, there’s a lot to look at on winter roads. The scenery is beautiful with a snow cover everywhere, people have their houses decorated for the holidays and you are more likely to see an accident on the highway.  

Clear The Snow Off Your Windows: I will never forget the time I saw a woman being pulled over for only clearing a perfect square of snow in front of the driver’s seat off her windshield. Not only was this incredibly dangerous for her, essentially giving herself a 350-degree blind spot but any turn she made could have been into a pedestrian or another car.


That is it! Follow these winter driving tips and make yourself a safer driver. Be sure to pass along these safe driving tips to your friends and family.