As we all face the New Year and the usual hurried pace of life returns, a new challenge is thrust upon us: winter driving. Handling winter driving conditions is trying even to local Montrealers. To the inexperienced newcomer, it can be downright dangerous. There are a few things the novice can learn though to make the next few months easier.
Before reading this information, here is a little quizz to test your winter driving knowledge. You'll learn something!
Ten Myths... About Winter Driving !
1. There is no difference between all-season tires and winter tires!
Wrong. The grooves in winter tires are about 30 % deeper than those in all-season tires, and they grip more effectively.
2. All-season tires are good enough for city driving.
Wrong again! When the temperature drops below 7 °C, the rubber used in all-season tires begins to harden. It also loses elasticity and traction.
3. The weather is good, the road is clear, I can't see any ice...Let's go! I can drive just like I do in the summer.
Afraid not! It is still winter, and tire traction drops along with the temperature. Not to mention the danger of black ice, which is invisible and unpredictable.
4. The road is in great shape when I start out, so I can expect good conditions for the whole trip.
Wrong! You are still driving in winter, when road conditions can change every few kilometres. Drive carefully.
5. In winter, accidents usually happen during storms.
False, and the figures show it. During a storm, drivers tend to drive a lot more carefully, but when the weather is good, people take more risks.
6. In winter, I know that I have to keep my distance. So I choose a reference point and count at least two seconds when the rear of the vehicle in front of me passes this point.
That’s not enough! In winter, when the roadway is snow-covered or icy, double and even triple the number of seconds. In any case, if you don’t allow more distance in winter than in summer, you’ll have a problem!
7. The braking distance of a vehicle with ABS brakes is shorter than for a vehicle with conventional brakes.
False. ABS brakes let you maintain control of the vehicle’s trajectory. However, ABS tends to lengthen braking distances, especially on slippery surfaces. So it’s always prudent to maintain a good distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, especially in winter!
8. Nothing beats a nice wide tire for driving in snow.
Wrong again! Wide tires tend to float on top of the snow, unlike narrow tires, which provide a better grip.
9. It's obvious that accidents happen for different reasons in winter and summer.
False. Statistics show that, both summer and winter, carelessness and excessive speed are the number one causes of accidents.
10. The letters M+S (mud and snow) on a tire show that it is a winter tire.
Afraid not! M+S may also appear on all-season tires which, despite their name, are not recommended for winter driving.