HAMILTON, ON (December 11, 2014) – As temperatures drop and the cold snowy Canadian winter begins, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) encourages drivers to take necessary precautions to stay safe. Workers who drive for a living: truck drivers, first responders, taxi and bus drivers and delivery people are especially vulnerable.
CCOHS offers the following tips to make the winter drive a safe one.
Prepare your vehicle. Driving in winter weather - snow, ice, wet and cold - creates a great challenge for vehicles and drivers. Keeping your vehicle in good technical repair reduces your overall chances for any mishap or disaster while driving - particularly in winter weather. To prepare your vehicle for winter driving give it a complete checkup and pay special attention to the electrical system, brakes, tires, exhaust system, heating and cooling systems, windshield wipers and fuel.
Pack a winter driving kit. A well-stocked winter driving kit helps to handle any emergency. Your winter driving kit should include a bag of sand, salt or kitty litter, traction mats, a snow shovel, a snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices such as flares or a “Call Police” sign, and fuel line de-icer. Also, in case you’re ever stranded in a cold vehicle, keep a blanket and extra clothing on hand, including a hat, wind-proof pants, gloves and warm footwear, as well as snacks, water, and the usual drivers’ aids - first aid kit, roadmaps, and booster cables.
Drivers are also encouraged to plan travel routes in advance and to check road and weather conditions, and avoid driving when fatigued. Winter weather requires you to take extra caution and drive carefully. This means slower driving, heightened alertness, and allowing twice the stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Slow down when approaching a bridge, because it could be icy even when the roads are not.
More information and tips to driving safely in the winter can be found on the CCOHS Website.