Useful winter tips for driving in the US and Canada

Snow, slush and ice all combine during the colder months to make the roads that little bit more dangerous, especially in the US northern states and Canada where temperatures plummet and polar vortexes turn the world white and frozen. 
In the rental car industry, we know that driving in a foreign or unfamiliar place can add to the difficulty, and we have seen our fair share of seasonal accidents! Kevin Hall of Airport Rentals has some tips for staying safe on the roads, gleaned from years of experience in the industry.

Winter Driving Tips

  • Keep up-to-date with weather reports and forecasts in your intended travel area. If it is looking especially bad, consider postponing your trip.
  • The type of vehicle can make all the difference. Some destinations and conditions are easier to navigate with a four-wheel drive, and many rental companies will offer chains or snow tires for a fee.
  • Clean up the windshield - visibility is important and dirty glass makes it more difficult to see. 
  • Watch your speed! Prepare early for stopping and turning, as it takes longer on snow-covered roads. You should be aware of bends and hazards well in advance - look 20 to 30 seconds ahead while driving.
  • A normal following distance is three to four seconds. In adverse and wet conditions, we suggest you increase it to eight to 10 seconds. 
  • Do not panic if your vehicle skids. Continue to steer in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on the brakes.  
  • If your car becomes stuck in the snow, don’t leave it, as it can provide you shelter and heat. It is also more visible than a person, therefore easier for rescuers to locate. 
  • You never know what will happen on the road, especially in winter. Excess protection is  a must! More accidents happen in the cold, and you can take all the steps to drive carefully but you can’t be sure that others will. 
Keep safe while driving in winter wonderland this year! Once you've got the tips above covered, the options for winter road trips are endless - discover the charm of the snow-covered Rockies from Vancouver or Calgary or experience the charming towns of New England.