In the cold winters of the Maritimes, there is often an abundance of snowfall and freezing rain. Such weather conditions pose a great risk to road safety, making them incredibly treacherous for motorists. With low visibility and roads becoming slippery, the potential for disaster escalates, leading to severe motor vehicle accidents that can result in serious injuries or even fatalities.
A recent report published by Transport Canada revealed that in a span of only one year, more than 10,000 collisions were attributed to various winter elements like snow, freezing rain, sleet, hail, and limited visibility. Car accidents bring about grave outcomes for both those behind the wheel and passengers. Whiplash, harm to vital organs, traumatic head injuries, and spinal cord impairment are merely a few examples of potential harm one may endure. Nova Scotia witnesses an approximate annual count of 80 fatalities and 636 hospital admissions owing to vehicular collisions. The enduring repercussions of injuries or the loss of cherished individuals may persist for extended periods.
Despite extensive preparations made for winter weather, it remains impossible to regulate the careless actions of other drivers. If you or a cherished individual have endured harm following an automotive accident, our team of legal experts specializing in car accidents can offer valuable guidance regarding your lawful entitlements. Reach out to us now to arrange a consultation and explore your options.
Winter driving can pose serious risks, but as a motorist, you have the power to mitigate those dangers by following a few crucial guidelines. Apart from the obvious measures like reducing speed and staying vigilant about the fluctuating weather, it is equally vital to ensure that your vehicle is well-prepared for the icy roads. Thus, by adopting precautionary measures and maintaining your car appropriately, you can significantly enhance your safety during the perilous winter season.
Invest in High-Quality Winter Tires
Winter tires in Nova Scotia are not required, however, they are specially designed to navigate through the dangerous and slick conditions brought about by snowy and icy roads. Esteemed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), these tires offer enhanced grip and reduce the distance you need to brake. It is important to understand that winter tires differ significantly from all-season tires. Prior to setting off on extended trips, it is essential to conduct regular inspections of your tires, with a particular emphasis on two aspects: tread depth and inflation levels. It is crucial for your tires to possess a minimum tread depth of 50% and to be appropriately inflated. It is worth noting that air density can vary depending on the temperature. Therefore, what may appear to be perfectly inflated within the cozy confines of your warm garage will not necessarily hold true when navigating icy winter roads. A useful guideline is to ensure the tires’ pressure is examined when they are in a cool state.
Maintain Optimal Battery Life
During the winter season, it is essential to ensure that your engine is equipped with a fully charged battery to facilitate its start-up. Regularly monitoring the condition of the charging system and belts can effectively maintain the efficiency of the system. It’s highly advisable to seek guidance from a skilled expert for routine battery tests during the colder months. By doing so, a mechanic can detect any potential issues at an early stage and proactively replace the batteries before they cause any trouble.
Ensure Your Lights are Functioning Properly
During the winter season, as daylight diminishes, visibility becomes a challenge, particularly when confronted with weather phenomena like whiteout conditions. Ensuring the functionality of your headlights and taillights becomes crucial. If these components fail to operate, seek assistance from an automotive professional to address the issue promptly and ensure your safety on the road.
Make Sure to Test Your Brakes
No matter what the weather is like, making sure your brakes are in optimal condition is crucial. Remain vigilant for any alterations in the sound or sensation of your braking system, such as grinding or squealing noises, and promptly address any apprehensions you may have by consulting a certified technician.
Keep an Eye on Your Exhaust System
The expulsion of harmful gases from your vehicle’s engine is a crucial role that your car’s exhaust system plays. Positioned underneath the car, this system is susceptible to damage from road bumps. Constant exposure to snow, ice, and road salt can gradually wear down the metal components. Any leaks in the exhaust system could potentially allow dangerous gases like carbon monoxide to infiltrate the interior of the vehicle. Pay close attention to alterations in the sound and sensation of your vehicle’s exhaust system. Should you detect unfamiliar resonation, clattering, whispering, or trembling, it is possible that a leak has occurred. Furthermore, conducting an inspection of your exhaust system can unveil any signs of corrosion or punctures. Make it a habit to inspect your tailpipe for any signs of ice or snow accumulation. Regardless of whether you’re making a quick stop or stuck in your vehicle during winter weather, taking this precaution can potentially decrease your risk of inhaling dangerous gases.
Ensure Your Heating and Cooling System is Functioning
During winter, driving could bring about a drastic change in your engine’s temperature. Initially, it remains frigid while the car is immobilized, but as soon as you start the ignition, it quickly heats up. To manage this extreme temperature shift, your engine relies on a robust heating and cooling system comprising a network of belts, hoses, and antifreeze fluids. This system ensures a seamless transition for the engine. Nevertheless, it is crucial to regularly inspect this system for any signs of cracks or leaks. Examine the integrity of your drive belts, radiator hoses, and other crucial components including the radiator cap, water pump, and thermostat. To identify potential leaks, a practical method is to observe if your vehicle leaves any liquid on the ground beneath its front section. Additionally, run your hand over the underside of the radiator to detect any presence of rust. Ensure that you possess a sufficient quantity of coolant or antifreeze as a final step. Typically, your vehicle will illuminate a coolant indicator on the dashboard when the levels begin to dwindle.
Get Specialized Winter Windshield Wipers
Driving in snowy and icy conditions can be extremely hazardous due to limited visibility, leading to a higher likelihood of accidents. It is crucial to address any faulty windshield wipers, even those that smear while wiping, and consider investing in winter-specific wipers that endure harsh weather conditions. Additionally, ensure that your winter washer fluid is suitable for freezing temperatures. It is advisable to maintain a temperature within the range of -40 C. In the event of any unforeseen circumstances, it might prove useful to store an additional container of the liquid in the trunk of your vehicle.
Get Ready for Unexpected Situations With a Kit for Emergencies
In the face of harsh wintry road conditions, there is often the unfortunate occurrence of vehicles getting stuck, leading to long waits for rescue teams.
To ensure readiness, the Nova Scotia government advises drivers to include the subsequent items in their packing list:
- A Lighter or Matches,
- Long-lasting food like nuts and dehydrated fruit
- Plastic garbage bags to protect clothing from the elements
- Flashlights and spare batteries,
- Extra Clothing
- Snow-melting equipment such as candles or alternative materials,
- A reflective or lit marker to hail emergency responders,
Also include a shovel for snow, booster cables, water, toilet paper, a fire extinguisher, a mechanical tool kit, and a first aid kit in your packing list. These items can come in handy in various situations.
Get Your Vehicle Prepped for the Road
Prior to embarking on your winter journey, ensure that there is no trace of ice or snow on your windows, mirrors, and lights. Verify that the tailpipe is unobstructed. Turn your engine on beforehand and wait ample time for it to heat up, allowing your cabin temperature to adjust. It is also a good idea to bide your time until the haze on the windowpane disperses before embarking on your expedition.
Get a Full Tank of Gas
The frigid weather has a tendency to cause your vehicle to consume a greater amount of fuel during your journey, thereby emphasizing the importance of ensuring you have an adequate supply of gasoline to complete your intended trip. Given the potential for longer commutes resulting from hazardous winter roads, coupled with the potential perils of being stranded, it is a good idea to constantly embark on your travels with a full tank. When considering the distance of your journey, it might be worth the inclusion of an extra gas container in your car’s trunk for unforeseen circumstances.
BOOK A FREE CASE EVALUATION
Get in touch with our team of legal experts specializing in car accident cases in Nova Scotia to schedule a consultation. While taking precautions to ready your vehicle for winter driving can potentially lower the likelihood of accidents, the presence of negligent drivers can still result in collisions. The treacherous Nova Scotia winter conditions pose a hazard due to inadequate preparation by some drivers who fail to prioritize the safety of other road users. If you have been harmed due to an accident caused by a driver’s negligence, you might qualify for compensation. Reach out to NOVA Injury Law to explore how our team of Nova Scotia car accident lawyers could potentially assist you.