Nothing chills quite like the threat of an apocalyptic-sounding winter weather system, and according to Environment Canada, a polar vortex will descend on Canadians in the latter half of January. For drivers, the bone-chilling temperatures aren’t the only worry; so too is the potential increase in winter driving hazards that can come with it.

Beyond how winter weather affects your vehicle – thickening fluids, fluctuating tire pressure, corrosion from road salt – drivers need to be mindful of sudden snow squalls and blizzards, black ice, and driving in the dark since the days are shorter. All these hazards can lead to a collision, which, in turn, can affect your car insurance premium.

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But here is some good news: there are things you can do to be prepared for winter driving. And while we can take comfort in the fact that spring is only 64 days from now (let’s be optimistic), here are a few ways to avoid getting into an accident in the wintertime whether we’re freezing beneath a polar vortex or not:

  • Know what’s happening. If you must drive, be aware of the weather and road conditions along the route you’re taking. If you don’t need to drive, don’t.
  • Clean off your vehicle. Clear all the snow and ice from your car (including the roof). Make sure you can see all around your vehicle at all times.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and obey the speed limit.
  • Focus on driving. Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your mobile phone or anything or anyone in your vehicle.
  • Lights on. Always drive with your headlights on even during daylight.
  • Stay in control. Refrain from using your vehicle’s cruise control function when driving on slippery, icy roads.
  • Get winter tires. If you don’t have winter tires installed on your vehicle, get them. Not only are they designed to grip the road better than all-season tires when the temperature falls below 7 C, but your insurer will also give you a small discount on your premium for having them.

Taking a few precautions to ensure you’re prepared for whatever winter throws at us and adhering to safe-driving principles are the best ways to stay safe behind the wheel, avoid an accident, and keep your car insurance premium as low as it can be.

Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile, seasoned writer and editor. He worked as both a staff writer and freelance writer for many business and technology publications as well as for several newspapers. He writes about home, auto, and travel insurance, and is the media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA.

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