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Tips For Safe Winter Driving In Ontario - Zayouna Law Firm
Mar 15 2024 | Zayouna Admin

Navigating Icy Roads: Tips for Safe Winter Driving in Ontario

Snow and ice accumulation leads to thousands of car accidents in Ontario every year. There tend to be about 15% more car accidents in Ontario reported in winter months compared to summer months. We can’t avoid the winter driving conditions in Ontario, but we can take steps to make the roads safer. In this article, we will cover some tips to help you navigate icy roads and prepare your vehicle for winter driving in Ontario.

Tips for Driving on Snow and Ice

Driving safely in snowy and icy conditions requires some knowledge of tips and techniques specific to winter conditions. Let’s get into some of the most important winter driving techniques.

How to Correct an Oversteer

Oversteer occurs when the rear tires lose traction, causing the back of the vehicle to slide. Knowing how to handle an oversteer is fundamental to preventing car accidents in Ontario winters.

How To Correct An Oversteer - Zayouna Law Firm


Here is a quick guide on what to do when your rear tires slide out:

  • Don’t panic
  • Ease off the accelerator
  • Do not brake
  • Turn your steering wheel toward the direction of the slide
  • Be ready for your car to regain traction to avoid over-correcting

How to Correct and Understeer

Conversely, understeer happens when the front tires lose traction, causing the vehicle to continue straight despite steering input. Correcting an understeer is a little different than correcting an oversteer. Here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • Don’t panic
  • Release the accelerator
  • Do not brake
  • Steer in the direction you want to go
  • Let the traction guide you and be ready for when the sliding stops to avoid over-correcting

Braking With and Without Anti-Lock Brakes

Understanding the brake systems in your vehicle and how to use them is crucial in winter conditions.

If your car has anti-lock brakes, maintain steady pressure on the brake pedal. The system will automatically modulate braking, preventing wheel lockup and allowing you to maintain steering control.

Without anti-lock brakes, practice threshold braking—apply firm and steady pressure just short of locking the wheels, release the pedal, and repeat, pumping the brakes in this manner until you come to a full stop.

Give Extra Space

Stopping distances can be up to 10 times longer on icy roads. Keeping adequate space between vehicles is key to countering this extra stopping distance. Slow down and give other drivers more space on the road to allow for more reaction time and reduce the risk of collisions.

When the weather is bad, avoid passing unless absolutely necessary to maintain a safe speed and to stay clear of any vehicles that suddenly slide out of control.

Fully Clear Your Vehicle of Ice and Snow

Before hitting the road, take the time to thoroughly clear your vehicle of ice and snow. This includes not only the windows but also the roof, hood, and trunk. Snow and ice left on the roof or hood can become hazardous projectiles for both you and other drivers. Fully clearing your vehicle also ensures maximum visibility and prevents ice from dislodging while driving.

Stay Patient

Staying patient is one of the most difficult winter driving tips and the one that will keep you the safest when driving in harsh weather. Allow extra time for your journey, drive at a controlled and steady pace, and avoid sudden maneuvers. If conditions worsen, consider postponing non-essential trips or taking alternate routes along more major roadways. Staying patient and calm behind the wheel is probably the best way to prevent car accidents in general, but especially in winter.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

Navigating icy roads isn’t all about driving safely. Some of the most important safety tips are done before you ever start your engine. Here are some steps you should take to prepare your vehicle for the winter in Ontario.

Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter - Zayouna Law Firm


Create an Emergency Kit

Assemble a comprehensive emergency kit for your vehicle in case you get stuck somewhere for an extended period. This kit should include essentials such as:

  • Ice scraper
  • Blanket
  • Gloves and extra warm clothing
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Snow shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Non-perishable snacks

You may also want to store some road salt, sand, or traction mats to help you get out of slippery situations.

Get Winter Tires

If you don’t already have them, you should invest in winter tires. The Ontario government does not require winter tires, but they do recommend installing them from October 1st to April 30th. Winter tires are a game-changer for improving traction on snowy and icy roads, and you can likely receive an insurance discount to help fund the investment.

Perform Regular Safety Checks

Routine maintenance checks are a good idea to identify and address potential issues before they become serious problems. Ensure that your brakes, battery, lights, windshield wipers, and heating system are in working condition. Be sure to check your fluid levels regularly and to top up your washer fluid as needed before it becomes a hazard.

Check Road Conditions Before You Leave

Before you leave, check the road conditions along your route using resources like Ontario 511 to check for closures, accidents, or severe weather warnings. If the conditions are poor, consider taking an alternate route or postponing your trip altogether.

Get Roadside Assistance

Having roadside assistance provides peace of mind knowing that help is just a phone call away if you break down or get stuck somewhere. From flat tires to dead batteries, roadside assistance ensures you won’t stay stranded in the cold.

Save the Phone Number of a Trusted Ontario Car Accident Lawyer

In the unfortunate event of a car accident, having the contact information of a car accident lawyer in Ontario can help provide sound legal advice to guide you through the situation.

Zayouna Law Firm specializes in helping individuals navigate the legal complexities following a car accident in Ontario. Save their number in your phone to make it easy to call, contact Zayouna Law if you ever need legal assistance in the aftermath of a car accident.

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