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Winter Driving Brush-Up 

By AMA Staff

The snow is cleared off your vehicle and you’re on your way. It’s time to remember and apply all the safe winter driving habits you’ve ever learned. Here’s a refresher—just in case—courtesy of the Driver Education team at AMA. 

Scan ahead  

On city streets, drivers should look 12 to 15 seconds ahead—or one city block. On the highway, make that 20 to 30 seconds.  

Black-ice watch  

When temperatures hit between +4°C and -4°C, ice is typically not visible. Slow down.  

Ice buildup  

Always drive according to conditions, and watch for ice build-up at intersections, bridge decks and ramps, in particular.  

Speed and spacing  

Changing road conditions means driving proactively, reducing your speed, and leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front. Use the three-second rule: Begin counting as the rear of the car ahead passes any given check point. If it takes less than three seconds to reach the check point, you’re too close.  

Shine on  

For maximum visibility, turn on your lights and keep them clean.  

Easy does it  

Stay in control of your vehicle by gently braking, steering and accelerating when driving on snow-covered roads.  

No cruising  

Don’t even think about using cruise control, which was designed for ideal (as in summer) road conditions.  

Brake smartly  

Apply pressure on the brake pedal to the point just before wheels lock up. If they start to lock, ease up on the brake slightly and reapply.  

Mind the shoulder  

Drivers must allow extra room on the road for snow plows, tow truck operators, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement. It’s the law: if you see emergency or roadside vehicles pulled over with their blue and yellow lights flashing, slow down to 60km/h or move to the adjacent lane.  

Find your way  

Check your highway route before leaving the house. Visit roadreports.ama.ab.ca or download the AMA Mobile App before you head out on your travels. 

Interested in taking a winter brush-up course? Visit ama.ab.ca/winterdriving