Cool, calm heads needed on the road as cooler weather rolls in

As a motorist, are you compensating for something? If not, you should be, say members of the RCMP's Central Okanagan traffic services.

As a motorist, are you compensating for something? If not, you should be, say members of the RCMP’s Central Okanagan traffic services.

“Driving is a very complex task that requires a lot of concentration in order to safely and successfully navigate the roadways with other traffic,” said Const. Steve Holmes

“Over the summer we have gotten used to the longer days, nice clear weather and dry roads. Now that the weather is changing, we have to start compensating for the wet roads, which are very slick due to the lifting of oil from the pavement. We also can’t ignore the cooler weather which brings the morning frost to the road surface and we have to plan for early loss of daylight which affects our visibility.”

Holmes then pointed out the only thing we can control is how we adapt our driving behaviors.

“The laws of Physics will not allow us to drive summer speeds on winter roads nor will it allow us to stop as quickly as before. We have to compensate by giving ourselves more time to get where we’re going, by leaving more distance between us and the vehicles in front, by ensuring that our vehicles are properly maintained and equipped and by eliminating intentional distractions and keeping both hands on the steering wheel.”

Here are some helpful tips for changing seasons:

  • Leave for your destination earlier which might mean re-setting your alarm.
  • Keep your head on a swivel and drive like every other motorist is out to get you.
  • Give your vehicle ample time to warm up if it is parked outside, or plug in the block heater if your vehicle has one. Driving in a frosted up car is like driving with your eyes closed. It’s dangerous.
  • Start topping up your windshield washer reservoir now with winter fluid. Summer fluid will freeze and may burst your reservoir tank.
  • Make your appointment to have your tires changed over if you run winter tires. If all seasons, check your tread depth to ensure it is adequate for winter conditions.
  • Check your tire pressure. Colder weather will drop the air pressure in your tires which can lead to poor gas mileage and reduction in tire traction.
  • Do an occasional “once around” your car to see that your signals, head lights, tail lights, marker lights and reverse lights work.
  • Get your radiator fluid checked to ensure you have enough and that it is adequate for the coming freezing weather.
  • Time to unearth the ice scraper/brush from where you hid it. Your iPod makes a lousy substitute and there’s no ice scraper app. While you’re at it, toss in a blanket, flashlight, small shovel, and any other emergency items just in case.

It’s easier to plan before than it is to undo what happens after.