What to do Before, During and After Driving in a Blizzard

There’s no denying that Newfoundland and Labrador winters are beautiful. But when you have to get in your car and hit the road, that picturesque snow globe we call home can start to look a little less sparkly. Whether you’re a new driver or a seasoned veteran, take some practical precautions to make sure you (and your vehicle) arrive safe and sound.

Before driving in a snowstorm

By now, you’ve prepared your car for winter and installed your winter tires. But these measures alone don’t guarantee an easy drive, so take these five simple steps before you venture out:

  • If your car is nestled in a bed of snow, shovel a path from your car to the street so you won’t get stuck on your way out of the driveway.
  • Start your car and crank up the front and rear defrosters, and point your vents up towards your windshield for more efficient defrosting.
  • Grab your snow brush and wipe off your entire car — not just your windows. Any snow or ice left on your vehicle’s body can blow around or break off when you’re driving and make it even tougher to see. It could also slide off your roof and onto another vehicle, making it difficult for other drivers to see and potentially causing a dangerous situation. Don’t forget to brush off your lights, too!
  • If there’s ice on your windows and windshield, be sure to scrape off the area around your wiper blades carefully to avoid damaging the rubber. If the ice is too thick to scrape, wait for your defrosters to kick in a little and try again. (If you have de-icing windshield washer fluid, now is the time to use it!)
  • Remember to dress for the weather and keep a well-stocked winter driving emergency kit, even if you’re only traveling a short distance — things like extra windshield washer fluid, road salt, and jumper cables can come in handy.

Tip: To reduce your impact on the environment, avoid idling for longer than a few minutes. Instead, consider using a block heater to reduce stress on your engine, save fuel, and get those vents pumping warm air a little faster.

During your winter drive

  • Remember: slow and steady wins the race. Accelerating too quickly on snowy, slushy, or icy streets can make your wheels spin and cause you to lose control of your car. Put your foot gently on the gas and accelerate gradually.
  • Don’t ditch your safe driving habits when you’re under pressure. Keep your eyes on the road and travel at a pace you feel is safe — and don’t speed up to escape the transport truck on your tail. Instead, pull over safely and let him pass you.
  • Always leave yourself extra time to stop when driving in slippery conditions, even when you have winter tires.
  • If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), always press your foot firmly on the brake pedal and keep it there until you come to a complete stop, even if you feel like your vehicle is sliding. You could feel a vibration and hear a quick pulsing sound, but don’t remove your foot or start pumping the brake pedal.

After you arrive at your destination

Once you arrive at your final stop, turn off your windshield wipers — this will prevent them from moving automatically and getting damaged next time you start your car. You should make sure that you’ve parked in an approved parking zone, abide by on-street parking laws that may be in effect. 

Even with all the right precautions in place, we know that accidents happen. Want to learn how your car insurance can help warm you up in the event of an icy winter driving mishap? Contact us today!