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With the presence of black ice and seemingly never-ending flurries, winter is a recipe for slipping and sliding – and not just on sidewalks. Seasoned drivers accustomed to winter driving know that sliding on icy roads is sometimes inevitable. It happens to the best of us, even when we’re being our safest. So, what can you do when you start sliding to reduce the risk of a collision, and get back on course safely?

Step one: don’t panic.

What to do when your car slides on ice

What you’ll need to do to correct your slide depends on which wheels are slipping on the vehicle. If it’s your front wheels, remove your foot from the accelerator and let the vehicle slow down. If you continue to slide, press on the brakes gently to help bring your vehicle to a stop. If it’s your back wheels, slowly turn your wheel in the direction of the slide while removing your foot from the accelerator.

What shouldn’t you do when your car slides?

Just as important as what you should do when you begin to slide, is what you shouldn’t do. First and foremost, don’t slam on your brakes. It might be your first instinct since you want your vehicle to stop — but this won’t work on icy roads. The harder you brake, the more likely you are to make your slide even worse. If you need to brake, do it as gently as possible. The same logic applies to turning your steering wheel. You never want to turn abruptly during a slide; it’ll cause you to overcorrect, and likely send your car spinning out of control. Just like braking, do it slowly and deliberately when you need to.

What should you avoid to prevent sliding?

By the time winter rolls around each year, most drivers are out of practice when it comes to winter driving; and cars sliding on ice is a common occurrence during the season. As a result, the first snowstorm of the year leads to an unusually high number of collisions.

Of course, the hazardous roads make it more difficult to drive safely in the winter months, but what else contributes to this drastic increase in collisions? Here are some of the most common situations that cause cars to slide:

Driving too fast

Driving too fast on icy roads is not the same thing as speeding in good weather conditions. Even if you drive at your usual speed, particularly on the highway, you increase your chance of spinning out of control. You’ll also find that it’s harder to brake. If the temperature is below freezing and it’s snowing, your best bet is to slow down and take your time.

Abrupt braking

Braking too quickly can lead to slipping and sliding. Brake gently by easing your foot down on the pedal. Be sure to keep enough room between yourself and the driver in front of you, so you’ve got a generous stopping distance.

Accelerating rapidly

If your wheels spin faster, your chance of losing traction increases. If you need to speed up for any reason, remember to ease into it.

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Before winter starts…

A lot of people wonder whether winter tires are worth it. They cost a fair bit, and then there’s the pain of swapping them out twice a year. The simple answer if you live in Canada is yes.

  • Winter tires provide up to 50 percent more traction than other tires
  • Winter tires can shorten stopping distance by up to 25 percent.
Winter tires are made of softer rubber and have specially designed treads to grip slippery surfaces. This makes a big difference when you need to stop on a dime or find yourself sliding down a hill toward a tree, car or pedestrian.

What about the cost of winter tires?

Investing in a set of winters will actually save you money by doubling the life of your summer or all-season tires. While one set of tires is on the car, the other is sitting in storage, perfectly preserved until their next turn on the road.

But more than that, having winter tires reduces the cost of your auto insurance, as you’ll see by accounting for them in a car insurance quote. Those year-over-year savings make up a big chunk of what you paid for those tires in the first place.

But what if…?

Yes, you can do everything right and still be involved in a collision. And yes, it will be stressful.

Take a deep breath.

This is why you have car insurance.

Types of insurance

The usual basic, comprehensive and collision insurance covers you, your car and any other vehicle you hit. It also has $200,000 worth of Third-Party Liability insurance that pays for things like medical treatment or repairs for property damage you caused to a front lawn.

To avoid that $200,000 not being enough, most Canadians opt to purchase between $1 and $5 million worth of Third-Party Liability insurance. It can be worth it for the peace of mind alone.

And here’s a nice perk: If you do get into an accident but have had a clean driving record for a period of time, Onlia Insurance offers first-accident forgiveness so whatever happens won’t trigger an increased insurance rate.

Stay safe with Onlia Insurance

The key to safe winter driving is taking preventative measures to mitigate risks on icy roads, and having the right protection for when the unpredictable happens. Even with precautions and safe driving habits, accidents happen. Be sure you have the right coverage to protect your car and yourself with Onlia Insurance. Get a quote today.

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