Winter Driving Tips


Driving in the GTA can be very hazardous. It's estimated that almost 30% of car accidents in Canada occur in snowy or icy conditions and more than 50,000 per year are due to precipitation. While it's easy enough to blame snow and ice for bad road conditions, at the end of the day there's an even bigger issue: bad drivers. You fellow Oakville drivers know exactly what I mean. There are constantly people driving dangerously down the QEW, and it becomes even worse when there's winter weather involved. While we can't fix everyone's driving during a snowfall, here are some tips for how to drive a little bit safer in the winter.

Turn On Your Lights

Being able to see really helps while driving. Being able to see other drivers on the road is almost as important. When you're dealing with rain or snow, having your lights on allows other drivers on the road to see you and avoid you if for some reason you're stuck.

Equip Winter Tires

I think we've already beat the horse to death on this one in our Why You Need Winter Tires article, but if you haven't read it (which is a ridiculous notion) here's a brief summary: Get winter tires. They'll save your life.

Give Plenty of Space

If you've ever attended a driving school in Ontario, you've probably heard the 2-second rule. This means you should be far enough back from someone that 2 seconds pass before you cross the same landmark on the road as the person in front of you. In the winter you should increase this to about 5 seconds. This should give you time to stop if something happens in front of you.

Learn How To Skid

Odds are you're going to lose traction in the winter. Whether it's because of black ice or slush, you will probably end up sliding around at some point. Instinctively you will want to hit the brakes, but this could make your skid worse. Instead, turn into the skid and accelerate. This should transfer the weight in your car and help you regain control. A good way to practice is to find a large empty parking lot (GEARS Bike Shop Oakville on Trafalgar Road has a perfect lot) and drive around on it after a snowfall to see what skidding feels like and try correcting it.

Drive Smoothly

Make sure when you're driving you're not making sudden turns and stops. Doing this might cause your vehicle to lose control, and you'll end up in a ditch. Also, slow down a bit in the snow. Wherever you're heading isn't going to get up and leave if it takes you a bit longer to get there (unless you're chasing an ice cream truck).

Don't Panic

Whether it's from your vehicle sliding or seeing someone in front of you slide, it's important not to freak out. Don't slam on the brakes and jerk the wheel to avoid it. Calmly decelerate and steer away from whatever obstacle you're now facing (screaming like a girl is acceptable in this instance).


Driving in the winter is hazardous enough as it is. Whether it's your first winter driving or your fiftieth, observing these tips will help you stay on the road and avoid ending up like this guy.