Monday, November 17, 2014

TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, then you are probably out on the road driving on the slippery slush-filled path trying to get to work. If you didn't anticipated the snow then you are one of these people who are stuck in traffic right now. It lightly snowed all night and it's still coming down. I hope that you got a chance to get those winter tires installed and brushed down your car before heading out this morning. I pray that you are taking your time and not tailgating. I'm assuming that you are smart enough to anticipate the red lights and signal your lane changes and turns well in advance. 

I have compiled a list of tips for driving in this lovely white stuff. For those of you who feel that you are a good driver, it is not my intention to criticize, but to remind everyone that when it comes to Canadian winters, we all need to read and re-read tips on safe driving to help keep everyone safe, ourselves, our passengers, other drivers and their passengers, and pedestrians. Let's be responsible and work together to keep everyone safe this winter season while keeping our insurance rates from getting any higher.


WINTER TIRES:

Did you get a chance to install those winter tires yet? Remember how much snow we had last year? Who's to say that it will be any better this year? As everyone knows, weather forecasts and predictions are to be used as a guide only; we live in Canada, therefore, we are guaranteed snow. 

There are a few places in Brampton to get some winter tires installed while you wait. TIRE DISCOUNTER at 190 Bovaird Drive, 905-451-1116, has been putting tires on my car for years. If you don't know a thing about buying winter tires, they will give you a quote on a brand they have in stock, then you can Google the brand name and find reviews and ratings about the brand and then, upon your approval, they will install your tires while you wait. They do not take appointments, it's first come, first serve, so be sure to get there early if time is limited for you. Since being told about this place by my mechanic, who has a shop at the far end of the building, I haven't gone any other place. They are knowledgeable and quick, and if they don't have the tires you want in stock, they can get them for you. I got my winter tires installed for $300.00 less than the dealership. Also, they have good used tires if buying new is not an option. I have put used tires on my car in the past and they did just fine. 

P.S. Don't bother going to their website, you will only get confused and frustrated. Just go on over and ask in person; face to face communication is always better.


SNOW BRUSHES AND SCRAPERS and NEW WINDSHIELD WIPERS:

Have you ever been behind one of those people who didn't bother brushing off the snow from their car and it's like a mini snow storm until you change lanes, and then shoot them a dirty look when you pass them? Yes, we have all been there. Remember what you said and how you judged them? "Look at that guy, lazy bastard!"
Don't be that guy. Walmart has an assortment of snow brushes and ice scrapers to fit any budget. Put it on your to do list and get up extra early to brush the snow off your car, and keep your car clear of snow. You're putting your life, and others, in danger every time you get on the road where the only clean spot on your vehicle is the spot your wipers will reach. Regardless of what you think, snow doesn't always blow off your car and by then it may already be too late.



http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/kool-basic-short-handle-snow-brush/6000132108824



This was taken this morning, she wiped off the side window with her her sleeve then got into the car and took off.



With respect to windshield wipers, regardless of cost, they only last six months, max, so while your car is getting a winter tune-up, you might as well dish out the money for a new set of wipers, why make your winter driving more hazardous with old and worn wipers that can't keep your windshield clean and your visibility 100 percent? Walmart and Canadian Tire have a vast assortment of wiper blades in a wide range of prices; your apt to find a pair that will do the job.


TAKE YOUR TIME:

Yes, I know you feel like you don't have to be told to slow down. It should be common sense, right? For many people common sense goes out the window right after they get off work. You're not going to get where you're going any sooner by driving like a maniac. Everyone is trying to get home, think about getting home safe, not ten or fifteen minutes earlier. Driving in the snow is not like driving on dry asphalt. It's slippery, especially in freezing temperatures when patches of black ice form, and heaven forbid, there's zero visibility. Get up earlier in the morning to prepare for the drive: dress warm, warm up your car if you don't use an automatic starter or block heater, and clean the snow off your entire car. 


DON'T TAILGATE:

If the guy in front of you slams on the brakes, are you going to pummel the car's rear end should your car just keep sliding on that slushy or icy road? Think about it. This happens more than you may think and keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you may save you a lot of time and money. Did you know that Brampton, Ontario, has the highest insurance rates in the country?


ANTICIPATE THE RED LIGHTS: 

Don't try and race that red light, it's not worth it. I have personally seen drivers making left hand turns on the yellow caution light and get hit by an oncoming car racing the light. This is even more dangerous in the winter because it can cause a pile up. Think of  a Bumper Car ride at the amusement park. That is exactly what it looks like. One car hits another then those cars slide into other cars and so on. It's not pretty, trust me. Take your time approaching traffic lights, don't try and race them, or you may find yourself bouncing around like a bumper car in the middle of a busy intersection.


SIGNAL LANE CHANGES AND TURNS IN ADVANCE:

There is always some driver out there who just refuses to signal and then they slam on their brakes just before making a turn leaving you with little or no time to react. Even if you are not tailgating it is quite annoying not knowing where that driver ahead of you is going. Is he/she going right or left? Then when you think he/she is going one way, they end up doing the opposite! Perhaps you have done this yourself. I have, but not on purpose! How do you expect people to get out of your way if you do not signal your intentions? If you are changing lanes, signal first, look, then if the way is clear, change. Don't try and race the other driver because you want to get in the lane, just wait until the car passes, do it safely. Let the driver behind you know what your intentions are, if you're signalling right, go right, not left! Remember, it's slippery out there, our vehicles may not stop when we want them to. We need time to react. It also pays to know where you are going and the route you are taking. 


So, there it is.  Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk, or in this case, drive the drive. Let's get through this winter with the least amount of incidents as possible. It starts with each and every one of us. We must realize that driving is a privilege and driving in the snow can be dangerous, even treacherous. 

Listen to your local radio announcer, he/she has all the traffic updates and information regarding your commute. And for the sake of all of us, please keep your fingers off your phone, Ipod, or other device you may have. 

Safety should be your top priority when you get behind the wheel. Be responsible, set a good example for your passengers and the other drivers around you. Stay focused, keep your eyes always on the road, and concentrate on getting home to your loved ones safe and sound.