Prepare for Canadian winter driving with three easy tips

(NC)—Unless you plan to hibernate this winter, you will inevitably be faced with some challenging road conditions in the coming months.

“Knowing how to handle the road in harsh weather is one of the most important steps in keeping you and your family safe,” says Bill Hume vice-president of Hankook Tire Canada. Hume notes that simple preparations and preventative measures can enhance safety and reduce the stress associated with winter road conditions.

These three important winter driving tips can help get you through many slippery situations:

1. Keep your distance: Always leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Doing so will give you enough time to brake in a controlled manner and time to react in case of an emergency. Stay vigilant of road conditions, and increase the space if you detect or suspect black ice. A general rule of thumb is that if there are icicles on your windshield wipers or frost on your side view mirrors, there is a good chance that there is black ice on the road.

2. Understand your brakes: If your car is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), hit the brakes and let the system work for you: your ABS will pump the brakes at timed intervals without locking your wheels, enabling you to stop safely. It's normal to feel pulsation in the brake pedal, that's the ABS working. A lot of people have a tendency to release the brakes as the ABS kicks in; do not lift your foot until you come to a stop. If your vehicle is not equipped with ABS, pump your brakes to avoid locking your wheels.

3. Use appropriate tires: Studies have shown that at -14 C all-season tires lose up to 60 per cent of their grip compared to winter tires. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires are made with special rubber compounds that stay soft even at very low temperatures. A softer tire will stick to the road better, and give your vehicle more traction for optimal control. Some winter tires like the Hankook Winter i*cept evo are designed for high performance and offer a smooth ride with great grip on icy roads. If you plan on doing a lot of driving in the winter months having the right winter tire will make a big difference. For more information on how winter tires function, speak to your local tire dealer.

It is also important to stay alert, slow down, and stay in control—the three key elements of safe winter driving. Drive according to highway and weather conditions, and keep an eye on your car's maintenance throughout the season. Be prepared and don't let winter ruin your road trips.

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