As winter approaches, you need to be extra careful on the road to ensure the safety of yourself and your family. Driving conditions around Alberta are far from ideal and thus, motorists must drive cautiously to prevent collisions. There are snow-covered roads, frozen bridges and icy intersections, making it dangerous to take your vehicle out. We bring you 5 tips to ensure your safety on the roads in winter.

1. Watch for Black Ice
Normally, black ice can be difficult to spot, drivers must look well ahead and drive slow on bridges, ramps and intersections as these areas are prone to black ice buildup. If the road surface looks shiny and black, and the temperature is between 40C and -40C, there might be black ice on the road. Black ice is a thin layer of ice that blends into asphalt. As a rule, if the pavement is looking black and shiny instead of grey and white, you must slow down

2. Drive as Per the Road Conditions
It is safe to travel as per the speed limit only when the road conditions are normal. If you notice dangerous conditions, it is best to reduce your speed so that you gain better control over your vehicle. Along with keeping you safe, this will also keep you out of legal trouble. You can be charged with a traffic offence if you are not adjusting your speed as per the weather conditions in the city.

3. Maintain a Safe Driving Distance
When the road conditions are not ideal, you should keep at least three times more distance between you and the car in front of you. If the surface is wet or slick, this will give you enough space to suddenly hit the brakes. Remember that Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) don’t reduce your stopping distance. They help you control your braking and prevent your car from sliding.

4. Drive Smooth & Steady
When going out in winters, always remember to brake and accelerate gradually. In case of abrupt speed changes, your car might slide and you will lose control over your car. When descending a hill, remember to downshift so that you save your brakes and prevent your car from sliding. Also, avoid braking when travelling through curves. Don’t use cruise control on wet or icy roads. This can cause your car to hydroplane, wherein you lose control because of the layer of water present between the road and your tires. Cruise control is only meant for normal road conditions.

5. Improve Your Visibility
It is more important than ever to see and be seen clearly during the winter months. If your wiper blades are worn out, make sure to replace them before the arrival of winter. Before beginning your drive, clear off your side and rear mirrors and the windshield for better visibility. Also, remove any snow from the roof of your car as this can slide over to the windshield when you apply brakes. When driving, use signals well in advance when you’re changing lanes or making a turn so that drivers behind can get enough time to slow down. Also, remember to keep your headlights on at all times. When you wait at the side for a storm to pass, remember to start your hazard lights.

Check the local weather forecast before you leave and be prepared to modify your driving style as per the road conditions.