Winter Driving Tips

Photo of the blog author By Sergeant Mat Hofland,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 12:09 p.m. December 18, 2013
Updated: 2:57 p.m. January 7, 2014

Whether it’s a police scout car or a personal vehicle the Toronto Police College Police Vehicle Operations Section would like to remind everyone that winter driving season is now upon us and we must be additionally aware of all hazards on the road.

A car driving past a snowbank in downtown area with large buildings surrounding
Vehicles make their way on Bay St. as snow piles up

Here are some tips to assist in keeping safe on the road:

  • Keep your FUEL tank sufficiently full

  • Make sure you have plenty of WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID in the reservoir and keep an extra jug in the vehicle

  • CLEAR SNOW AND ICE from the roof, hood, trunk and all windows, lights and mirrors. After starting your vehicle, wait for the fog to clear from the interior of the windows so you will have good visibility all around

  • Remember to CHECK TIRE AIR PRESSURE, as it decreases in cold weather.

  • Once in a skid, STEER IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SKID. To do this, look where you want your vehicle to go and steer toward that spot. Be careful not to oversteer and release the offending pedal

  • It takes vehicles LONGER TO STOP in winter weather conditions and when driving downhill

  • It’s important to leave PLENTY OF SPACE between you and the vehicle ahead. A guide to safe spacing under normal driving conditions is the two-second rule. In winter, and especially during poor weather conditions, double the two-second rule.

  • LOOK FAR AHEAD so you can recognize hazards and have plenty of time to respond. Adjust your driving to the road and weather conditions.

  • SLOW DOWN to avoid sudden turns of the steering wheel and sudden braking and accelerating, which could cause a skid. Extra caution should be exercised when driving in these road conditions.

  • Be careful when approaching shaded areas, bridges and overpasses, as these sections of road FREEZE SOONER in cold weather and STAY FROZEN long after the sun has risen. Watch out for frost and areas of the road that appear black and shiny, as they can cause your vehicle to suddenly lose traction. Slow down and keep your foot off the brake as your vehicle crosses these areas.

  • On snowy, wet and slushy roads, large trucks and buses can blow moisture onto your windshield, leading to a sudden LOSS OF VISIBILITY. Always drive cooperatively and leave enough space to avoid snow spray

  • It is critical for drivers to see and be seen in low light conditions and when blowing snow and white-outs impair visibility. Whenever visibility is poor, turn on the vehicle’s FULL LIGHTING SYSTEM

  • We all want to MAKE IT HOME SAFELY at the end of shift so remember to watch your SPEED, wear your SEATBELT and make SAFE DRIVING a priority

TPS crest watermark