Use ‘com­mon sense’ when driv­ing in winter

Clarenville driv­ing in­struc­tor says speed­ing, not driv­ing for con­di­tions ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to winter ac­ci­dents


Al Evans re­tired from the RCMP in 2000, but his de­sire to pro­tect the pub­lic is still strong.

Now the owner and op­er­a­tor of ACE driv­ing school in Clarenville, his fo­cus is on ed­u­ca­tion - and af­ter 25 years of po­lice work and over 15 years with the driv­ing school, he's seen it all.

Whether it’s driv­ers speed­ing in stormy con­di­tions, slam­ming on their brakes too late at a stop light or trust­ing their sum­mer tires to get them through win­ters, Evans says that many win­ter­time ac­ci­dents could be avoided.

“First and fore­most, they drive to fast for the con­di­tions,” said Evans.

“Speed lim­its are de­signed for a rea­son. Speed lim­its are not ar­bi­trary. They’re put there to iden­tify a safe and pru­dent speed to al­low a per­son to avoid un­usual or un­ex­pected cir­cum­stance.”

Some­times, he says, a driver may be dis­tracted by their thoughts and run on ‘auto-pi­lot’, fall­ing back into the clear weather day pre-condi- tioned speed, which can prove dis­as­trous.

Sim­i­larly, Evans ex­plains that ac­ci­dents oc­cur when driv­ers don’t take the time to ob­serve driv­ing con­di­tions — is the road slip­pery, has it been plowed prop­erly, are there any vis­i­bil­ity is­sues, is there a chance of hit­ting black ice?

And, warns Evans, black ice can form even if there is no pre­cip­i­ta­tion fall­ing.

“If you get caught in a snow­storm, drive slow and safe. Don’t try to hurry up to get through,” he adds.

An­other haz­ard is driv­ing with­out proper tires.

"Snow tires are a must… snow tires will pre­vent col­li­sions,” Evans says em­phat­i­cally.

And what about stud­ded winter tires?

“Stud­ded tires, in a small per­cent­age of the time, are ben­e­fi­cial," he said.

“For the most part, they're ac­tu­ally coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. When they’re on dry pave­ment, they’re ac­tu­ally less ef­fi­cient."

Stud­ded tires wear down the road, he adds, which can lead to hy­droplan­ing si­t­u­a­tions.

An­other com­mon prob­lem in the winter is when driv­ers ap­proach in­ter­sec­tions too quickly or do not give enough space to an­other vehicle.

“Ve­hi­cles don’t go out of con­trol… per­sons lose con­trol of the vehicle,” he said.

Even op­er­a­tors of four-wheel drive ve­hi­cles need to take pre­cau­tions.

“Four-wheel drive ve­hi­cles are de­signed to al­low you to move in snowy con­di­tions or in bad trac­tion, that’s the rea­son for the four-wheel drive. It has ab­so­lutely no pos­i­tive ef­fect on stop­ping or con­trol­ling the vehicle on stops or turns."

He also noted that it’s im­por­tant to back into a drive­way or park­ing spot rather than drive in head-on, as ac­cu­mu­lated snow mounds may make it im­pos­si­ble to back out safely.

Evan says that there are no se­cret tips or hints for driv­ing safely in the winter.

“It’s com­mon sense,” he says.


"Speed is prob­a­bly a big­ger killer on the high­way than any other sin­gle factor,” he sum­ma­rized.

Evans says ac­ci­dents caused by black ice, poor road con­di­tions or even other driver’s er­ratic driv­ing could be avoided if speeds are re­duced.

“Peo­ple have died for the sake of five kilo­me­tres an hour,” he said, not­ing that a lit­tle ex­tra speed can make a big dif­fer­ence. [email protected]­

Al Evans, a for­mer RCMP of­fi­cer and cur­rent driv­ing in­struc­tor with ACE driv­ing school in Clarenville, NL of­fers some tips for driv­ing in winter weather.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.