Tips on how to drive safe in winter weather

Red Deer drivers seem to be adapting well to recent bad weather.

“We’ve had a few accidents, but nothing unusual,” says Sgt. Bob Bell with Red Deer RCMP Municipal Traffic Services. “I think most people looked out their window on the weekend and decided to stay in after shovelling the driveway. Most people listened to the advice from the media to not drive unless it was really necessary, so we’ve had relatively few collisions or problems.”

But recent stormy weather and road closures are reminding us that it’s good to take a few precautions when it comes to winter driving, says the Alberta Motor Association.

Their advice includes plugging in your vehicle when it’s minus 15 or lower. A timer on the block heater will also help you save energy if you set it to come on a couple of hours before you use the car.

Check road and weather conditions before heading out, especially if you are driving out of town.

Dress for the weather, which means having winter clothing in the vehicle even if you are not wearing it. Be prepared for problems with an emergency kit that includes booster cables, a blanket, candles and snacks. Having a small supply of kitty litter or sand in the trunk can be a real life-saver if you get stuck.

It’s also sensible to carry a fully-charged cell phone and a spare car key in your wallet or purse in case you accidentally lock yourself out.

The AMA says it responds to hundreds of calls every day from people who lock themselves out of their vehicles and it’s a bigger problem in cold weather.

More sensible advice includes driving on a full tank of gas, as tanks running low are more prone to condensation and gas-line freezing. You should also check your tire pressure more often as tires lose pressure as the temperature drops.

The AMA reminds motorists to slow down to 60 km/h when passing emergency personnel or tow truck drivers working on roadways in bad weather.