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Safe Driving in the Snow

Whether you’re driving in snow for the first time or a seasoned driver looking for a quick refresher, we’ve put together top winter driving tips for everyone.

As a school bus transportation company for students living with disabilities and nearly 20 years of experience on the road, we know the importance of driving safely and arriving on time. So, we thought we’d share top winter driving tips from our skilled team of School Bus Drivers who are commercially trained with countless years behind the wheel.

Many cities across Canada, including Calgary, see snow and ice on the roads for over six months of the year. So, it’s important to gain the skills and knowledge on how to drive on snowy and icy roads during these long, cold winters. Whether you drive a car, school bus, van or truck, follow these top tips to master the road this winter.

Plan Ahead

Before you sit behind the wheel, listen, watch or check online for weather and traffic updates from news stations such as 660 News, CTV or the City of Calgary traffic information or road condition websites. This information will help you decide which roads to take and areas to avoid in the case of severe weather conditions, traffic jams and collisions.

Make sure your fuel tank is at least half full and windshield washer fluid topped up when travelling. This will prevent any last-minute stops for gas or fluid, potential incidents, and keep you on schedule.

Dress for the Ditch

Before you step out the door, ask yourself: could I comfortably stand outside in these clothes for an hour? If not, turn around and bring out a warm jacket, gloves, boots, hat and scarf. Dressing for the outdoors is necessary in winter months – you never know if you’ll end up on the side of the road or assisting another driver. It’s all about preparing for the possibilities. Bundle up!

Gear Up

Don’t skip out on all season or winter tires when it comes to driving on snow and ice. All season and winter tires provide extra traction and help you stop more quickly and turn with accuracy on slick streets. Check your tires and tire pressure at least once a month – remember that tire air pressure decreases with the cold.

Every vehicle (whether it’s a car, school bus, van or truck) should have a safety kit. This should include a:

  • First aid kit
  • Seatbelt cutter
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Warning triangles
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing
  • Food that won’t spoil
  • Water

This list of supplies might seem daunting, but you’ll be thankful in any winter incident – big or small.

Clear Off Snow and Ice

Whether you drive a school bus, truck, car or van, it’s necessary to clear both the snow and ice off your vehicle before getting on the road. The driver must have clear visibility from the driver’s seat before beginning the trip. Brush snow off all windows, the hood and roof of your vehicle, and don’t forget the headlights, taillights and license plate.

Not properly clearing snow or ice from your vehicle could result in a fine – or worse, a collision. See and be seen to stay safe in the snow.

Take it Slow

During the winter season, give yourself extra time (an extra 15 to 30 minutes) to get to your destination. It takes longer to slow down and speed up from a full stop on slick roads, so it makes sense that driving in winter will take a bit longer.

Increase your following distance from 4 seconds to 6-8 seconds. These extra seconds are crucial in preventing collisions and will provide you with more time to slow down and stop on slippery roads and in low visibility conditions.

When it comes to accelerating and de-accelerating, take it slow. Never slam on the brakes or gas when it’s snowy or icy – this will cause your vehicle to slide.

Stay Safe Out There

Slippery roads and decreased visibility can make driving in Calgary or Canadian winters a challenge.

Planning ahead, clearing snow and ice off your vehicle, and taking it slow will set you up for a smooth winter driving experience. This is especially important if you have a specific time you need to be somewhere, such as work or school. Our team knows all about driving safely and arriving on time as School Bus Drivers who make sure kids arrive at school before the bell rings, regardless of weather, every single day.

Whether you’re driving in the snow for the first time or a seasoned winter driver, we hope you found winter driving tips from our team of experienced commercial School Bus Drivers valuable. Stay safe on the roads this winter!

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