This week southeast Saskatchewan is experiencing some up-and-down weather, which is making highway travel a bit more difficult. To go along with some foggy conditions, the warm days and cool nights — thaw and freeze cycle if you will, makes for slippery conditions.
We all learned back in driver school the ways to combat icy roads. However, travelling at higher speeds on the highways makes safe driving habits all the more important. Tyler McMurchy is with SGI and he has some points remember when facing treacherous highway conditions.
"When we're talking about winter driving, you want to focus on gentle acceleration, gentle breaking and small, smooth steering movements," McMurchy explained. "Traction does vary tremendously with temperature changes. Icy roads can look the same at -2 or -22, but they're actually far more slippery at the warmer temperature."
Those warm, wet and slippery roads are what we will be experiencing for this upcoming weekend, with temperatures expected to hover around zero for the next few days.
Another way to ensure safety on the highway and in the city is by driving more cautiously.
"We want to make sure you leave a lot of adequate following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, so you have more time to stop. Generally speaking, you should be looking at three or four seconds following distance. But, when conditions are slippery you'll want to increase that appropriately," McMurchy noted.
Adding winter tires to your vehicle will also help with the above tips. Although the initial investment is pricey, it will pay off in the long run.
His last piece of advice is one not many people would think of. Cruise control seems like a must when travelling a few hours on the open road, however, McMurchy says it could come back to bite you.
"Don't use cruise control in slippery conditions. When the road may have black ice formed on it, which is that thin layer of transparent ice, it could cause your wheels to spin when using cruise," he said. "Don't use cruise on those highway journeys where they might be ice when you're travelling."
With winter looking like it's here to stay, it's time to bust out the parkas, boots and mitts for the upcoming months. Along with that comes the added stress of winter driving, so slow down and stay safe.