By / 9th December, 2016 / Tips and tricks / Off

Nothing creates a buzz in Victoria like a good snowfall.  Even a light dusting creates excited chatter among Victorians, mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation.  For many locals, venturing out in their vehicles is a daunting task in winter conditions, as driving in snow and ice can be dangerous and unpredictable.  Below are 10 tips to stay safe on the roads this winter in Victoria.


driving snowy road


Be prepared and stay safe with these 10 winter driving tips:


1) Check road conditions.  Before starting your trip, check the current road conditions and weather forecast for the areas you will be travelling. Listen to the radio or visit

2) Prepare your vehicle.  Make the time to clear the entire car, not just the windshield wipers.  After starting your vehicle, wait for the window to defrost completely, and clear snow from all windows, lights, mirrors, hood and roof of the car.  Don’t forget to top up your windshield washer fluid.

3) Get winter tires.  In British Colombia, winter tires are required on most highways from October to March.  Make sure your tires display the mountain/snowflake symbol, or the M/S (mud and snow) icon.  Be advised that all-season tires must also display the M/S symbol to be considered a winter tire.

4) See and be seen.  Turn your headlights on during the day to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers in poor visibility.

5) Watch for black ice.  Just because you can’t see ice on the road, it doesn’t mean it is not there.  Reduce speed and watch for black ice on roads with shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections where car exhaust and packed snow freeze quickly.

6) Prevent a skid.  If you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake—this will make the situation worse. You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times until you regain control.

7) Keep your distance. The normal following distance of 3 to 4 seconds should be increased to 8 to 10 seconds to account for the additional time it takes to slow down and stop in snow.  Be extra cautious when approaching snow plows and salt and sand trucks, as they throw up snow and spray, making it difficult to see.

8) Drive SLOW.   The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions. In winter, it is safer to drive below the posted speed.   Be aware that everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement.  Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly, and plan for extra time to get to your destination.

9) Avoid sudden movements.  Maintaining a slow, steady speed is the best way to avoid skidding.  Avoid unexpected quick movements that could put you in a spin by accelerating gently, turning slowly, and braking carefully and early. Anticipate turns, stops, and lane changes well before they occur.

10) Stay home.  If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.