When the weather outside is frightful, the driving’s not so delightful! In the winter, this means driving in snowy, slushy and icy conditions that require you to change up your habits as the temperatures drop. Test your winter driving knowledge with these five true or false questions, and find out if you’re ready to brave the snowy roads this winter.
If there isn’t a lot of snow forecasted for this winter, you don’t need winter tires; true or false?
False. Winter tires will help you navigate snowy and slushy roads better than your summer tires, but even if you’re not expecting a lot of snow in your area, you’ll want winter tires if the temperature drops below seven degrees celsius. Below this temperature, summer or all-season tires lose their grip on the road, making driving less safe. As a bonus, in many provinces you’ll qualify for a discount on your car insurance if you install winter tires.
If you hit black ice, don’t brake; true or false?
True. No matter how safe of a driver you are in the winter, you can easily lose control of your car by hitting a patch of black ice. Rather than slamming on the brakes – which could cause you to skid – you should ease off of the accelerator and calmly steer the car into the direction that you want to go (most likely, straight). When you feel your tires gaining traction again, you can gently accelerate.
The best way to get ready for the road in the winter is to warm up your car by idling for a few minutes, true or false?
False. Unless you’re driving a car that is over 20 years old, it doesn’t need to idle to ‘warm up,’ and unnecessary idling is just wasting gas. According to Natural Resources Canada, idling your car for ten minutes uses up to half litre of fuel. The best way to prepare your car for driving in the winter is to clear off any snow and ice that will obstruct your visibility – and that includes snow on the top of your car that could fall on your windshield while you’re on the road.
The best way to quickly clear ice off your windshield is by pouring boiling water on it; true or false?
False. While it might do the trick and clear your windshield, pouring boiling water on a freezing cold windshield could worsen any existing cracks. Instead, you can create your own defrosting spray using water and rubbing alcohol.
There’s no point in cleaning your car in the winter, since it’s just going to get dirty again as soon as you leave the gas station; true or false?
False. Washing your car in the winter isn’t just to keep it looking great – it also prevents rust and corrosion caused by moisture (from snow and slush) and salt (from the road). At the beginning of the winter, a coat of wax can add an extra layer of protection to your car’s body, and regular car washes throughout the snowy months will help prevent damaging rust, which can compromise the integrity of your car’s exterior and eat away at your brake lines and exhaust system.