January 10, 2013
Canadians think a lot about driving this time of year and what it takes to get where we need to go.
I drive an SUV. I justify the larger vehicle because I have a daily commute, to and from work, of over two hours, and trips to the cottage are often challenged with unpredictable weather conditions. My vehicle ranks high on consumer safety tests and it truly provides me with peace of mind when driving in frightening road conditions.
This week has proven to be one of the more challenging weeks when it comes to driving. Blowing snow, icy roads, temperatures of -37 degrees and unpredictable drivers were all part of the equation. Adding to that, black ice and unplowed roads made for some white knuckle moments.
Winter driving tips from the Government of Canada, Transport Canada website, echo what my father used to instill in me when I first learned to drive:
Prevent problems before they occur: Top 10 tips
- Get your vehicle ready for winter in the fall.
- Install four matching winter tires.
- Pack an emergency kit.
- Learn and practice winter driving techniques before you need them.
- Plan your trip, check road and weather conditions.
- Remove all snow from your vehicle before each trip.
- Give yourself extra travel time in bad weather.
- Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads.
- Travel with a fully charged cell phone.
- SLOW DOWN and WEAR your seatbelt.
And, I will add two more to the list:
11. Walk around your car to do a quick tire check and be sure the coast is clear.
12. Check that your washer fluids, gas, oil etc. are all topped up before you make your journey.
We haven’t seen a Canadian winter like this in a long time, but it is Canada and we should always be prepared for what this wonderful country has to offer.
Every road we travel requires some amount of preparation so that we can make adjustments. In the winter, we often need to be ready to take a new route because so much can happen so quickly.
I am off to Ottawa next week for meetings with the Canadian Human Rights Commissioners and the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, to further our discussions on ending genetic discrimination in Canada. I hope for good travelling weather but will be sure to keep an eye to the sky and adjust accordingly.
Most of all, I will be sure to pack my patience for the journey.