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.
Halloween is right around the corner and if you are not familiar with this peculiar holiday, you may be wondering about all the fuss. This entry will answer your questions and give you tips on how to make the most of this very fun evening.
The roots of Halloween have been traced to various sources. Some scholars have found linkages to an ancient Celtic religion that used many of the same symbols to mark the passage of fall to winter. While others claim Halloween's earliest beginnings are found in the pagan funeral traditions of ancient Rome. Whatever its origins, and despite the prevalence of all things ghoulish and other worldly, Halloween today is a day and evening of good fun marked by parties, (hopefully harmless) pranks, costumes and candy.
The first mistake someone who is unfamiliar with this tradition might make is to think that it is reserved for children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Halloween has developed into an occasion that adults enjoy as much as children. In fact, retail reports state that consumer spending on Halloween items, is second only to Christmas spending. So, on October 31st, do not be surprised to see colleagues at work in various states of disguise. You will also note a number of tall witches and ghosts on Halloween night, as parents turn their chaperoning duties into an opportunity to dress up and have some fun along with their children.
So...how can you partake? Well, its really quite simple. You will need a pumpkin, a costume and some candy. On the day of, you will likely observe your children in a heightened state of excitement as they prepare their costumes and await nightfall. You can channel some of their restless energy by carving pumpkins together. Once carved, your pumpkin becomes the iconic jack'o'lantern. You can affix a lighted candle inside your marvellous creation and place it at your doorstep signalling to the evenings revellers that you are participating in the night's festivities and handing out candy. As the sun sets, your doorbell will begin to ring. When you open the door, children will yell "trick or treat". This "greeting" means that you have a choice: you can either give them some candy or risk being the victim of a trick they have prepared. Some brave souls reply "trick" at which point, the young trick-or-treaters, may sing a song or tell a joke (most often, they are dumbfounded as they were just expecting to get their candy straight away)! As for the candy you give out (and receive) it is preferable that it be store bought and individually wrapped. Anything home made should be not handed out or consumed. Many children will also have an orange box with them which they use to collect donations for Unicef. It is a good idea to have some spare change on hand to give them.You can blow out your jack'o'lantern, effectively closing up shop, when you run out of candy or whenever you like. Its up to you.
With a few simple precautions, you can make sure the evening is as safe as it is fun. For starters, you need to ensure that costumes are warm as evenings can be very cool at that time of year. You should also take care that any masks or headgear does not impair visiblity. It is a good idea to apply some reflective tape to the costume so that your child is visible to cars as he or she will undoubtedly be tempted to run across the street. Carry a flashlight and only go to houses that are decorated and/or have a pumpkin out front.
Read on for more details on how to have a safe and fun Halloween.
Happy Halloween everyone!