Tips for Better Winter Driving Awareness from Your Trusted BC Driving School

Navigate Safely in Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam and more this Winter

Winter driving is unique, and for some motorists it can be quite stressful. Not only are you dealing with winter road conditions like snow, slush, and ice, but now you are dealing with drivers that might be unaware of how to handle such situations.

While you cannot control other drivers, you can do your part of staying safe by being more aware of your actions during winter driving.

Steps for Safer Driving this Winter

Whether the first snow has already struck, or you are readying your vehicle for the cold and ice ahead, follow these tips to stay safe and accident-free this winter:

1. Have a Winter-Ready Vehicle: Make sure your car is ready to tackle the wintry road conditions. That means having winter tires installed, keeping snow and ice brush/scrapers in your car, and taking it in for pre-winter maintenance. Fill up washer fluid, ensure
defrosters work, and pack a safety kit for your trunk that has winter necessities.

2. Never Tailgate: No matter how much of a hurry you are in or how slow the lead vehicle is, there is no excuse to tailgate. In the winter, this rule is more critical, because you have ice and snow hindering your ability to stop quickly. Give yourself extra room in the winter so that you can stop safely despite ice or snow.

3. Drive Smooth: Erratic movements on snowy roads almost always lead to loss of control. Do not take turns sharply, do not stop abruptly, and drive slowly so that your tires have a proper grip on the surface.

4. Do Not Pump the Brakes: Remember the age-old advice of pumping the brakes applied to vehicles without anti-lock braking systems. Today, most cars come with ABS as s standard feature; therefore, you can use the brakes, and the system helps to do the work for you.

5. Know What to Do if You Skid: You most likely learned this in our Vancouver driving school when first getting your license, but do you remember what to do if your vehicle skids or starts to lose control? Turn into the direction of the skid, but do not brake. By doing this, you will transfer weight and help your vehicle regain control.

6. Keep Lights on Always: To increase visibility, especially during snow, keep your headlights on.  

7. Never Use Cruise Control: Cruise control should never be on in the winter. It is not designed for wet, icy, snowy, or poor road conditions. If you have cruise control engaged, you could lose control quickly and face a collision or a skid.

Prepare Yourself for Winter by Attending Our Local Vancouver Driving School

When was the last time you took a driving class? If you are like most adults, it was when you first got your driver’s license, and you have not looked back since.

Our driving school can help prepare you for winter. Even if you are a newer driver, taking professional courses ensure you are ready for all the weather conditions British Columbia brings.

Refine your skills or learn something new by attending driving school at North Shore Driving School, Ltd. We serve Surrey, Coquitlam, and surrounding areas.

We offer courses for all ages and driving levels, including experienced drivers.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial driving courses at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving school.

Is There a Right Time to Switch to Winter Tires?

While fall temperatures are steadily dipping, they have not dropped into anything colder than 7 degrees Celsius. Vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend using snow tires once the temperatures are consistently 7 degrees Celsius or lower.

Every time you think the weather is cold enough, it starts to warm up again. You do not want to wait too long to put on your tires, but you also do not want to put on snow tires earlier than you should. So, how do you know when is the right time to get this done and prepare your vehicle for winter?

How to Decide if It is Snow Tire Time

Winter tires are a critical investment. They keep your vehicle and you safe on the road, and are better at providing you with traction than all-season tires. If you cannot decide when to put on your tires, consider these factors first:

· Go by the Season: The typical “rule” is that between Thanksgiving and Easter, you will use your winter tires. However, some years the temperatures dip faster, while others are unseasonably warm. If you go solely by the season, then you may have winter tires on too long or too early.

· Temperatures: Manufacturers recommend using their winter tires when the temperatures go below 7 degrees Celsius. This temperature is when the weather is cold, but also snow, freezing rain, ice, and slush are frequent too. The rubber compound in traditional or
all-season tires freezes and hardens when temperatures are at 7 degrees Celsius or lower. Winter tires contain rubber compounds that stay pliable and soft even in low temperatures.

· Requirements: Two provinces legally require winter tires: Quebec and British Columbia. These tires are required in Quebec from December 15th to March 15th, while BC requires them with the mountain snowflake or M+S symbol from October 1st to April 30th.

Some drivers wait until the first snow to switch out tires, but this is dangerous. The tires you have on the rest of the year are not equipped for winter temperatures and road conditions; therefore, you put yourself at risk for an accident doing so. Also, waiting for the season to officially start means that tire companies will be overwhelmed, and you may have to wait a few days to get in line for your tire change.

Refresh Your Winter Driving Skills by Attending a Vancouver Driving School

Regardless of the tires you have on your vehicle, winter driving requires a unique skillset. You will not have to stress over it too much if you take a refresher course from North Shore Driving School, Ltd.

We offer refresher classes for drivers of all ages. This 90-minute lesson assesses your skills, driving habits, and can help identify bad habits you may have developed over the years.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial license classes at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving schools serving Vancouver, Surrey, and surrounding areas of BC.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

As we head towards another winter season, it is important to be cautious on the roads and mentally prepare for driving in poor conditions. It is also important to take the proper steps and get your vehicle prepared to take on the wet, snowy and icy roads.

5 Key Steps in Your Winter Vehicle Preparation Checklist

Taking the time to prepare your vehicle can help you have a safe driving season. Here are some tips for getting your vehicle ready this winter:

  1. Check your antifreeze – Check to make sure your coolant is a 50-50 mixture of water and antifreeze. Less than 50 percent antifreeze makes your engine vulnerable to freezing up. You can purchase an inexpensive test at a local auto part shop if you are unsure.
  2. Ensure heaters and defrosters are in working condition – After a balmy summer and fall season, we may forget to make sure that all of the extra winter functions in our vehicles are properly working. Take the time to check and make sure that your heaters and defrosters are working so that you won’t be surprised when you need them.
  3. Make an emergency kit – Prepare for the worst case scenario and store a well-stocked emergency kit in an accessible place in your vehicle. Include warm clothing layers, hat and gloves, blankets, First Aid kit, sand or salt, jumper cables, water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, extra wipers, windshield washer fluid, and a shovel for digging your vehicle tires out of deep snow. 
  4. Get a pre-winter tune up – Try not to wait for the winter weather to arrive before having your vehicle checked out. Keeping to scheduled maintenance can mean a worry-free winter.
  5. Put on snow tires – The increased traction and control provided by snow tread tires can give you a lot more confidence driving in slick winter conditions. They can help you stop up to 40 percent faster than all-season tires and are made of a special rubber that helps them withstand even the most frigid temperatures. If you are not interested in snow tires, at least be sure to check the tire pressure of your existing tires, which can drop in cooler temperatures.

Preparing your car can help, but feeling confident behind the wheel is the best way to prepare for winter driving. North Shore Driving School Ltd. has driving schools in West Vancouver and North Vancouver that can give you the skills to drive in winter conditions. We offer individual lessons to help you be comfortable handling your vehicle all year.Schedule your driving lessons today. Questions or concerns? Call us at 604-988-1138.0

Do I Really Need Snow Tires if I’m Driving During the Winter in BC?

‘Winter’ has different meanings across the country, and in British Columbia, we get off a little easier. While temperatures and conditions are still variable and chilly, we typically get to skip the blizzards and ice storms. Safe driving is still paramount, but you may be wondering if winter tires are really necessary, given our temperate conditions. Always err on the side of caution, but check out the guidelines below to make your decision about purchasing or putting on the snow tires this year.

Snow Tires: Rules, Regulations and Tips for BC DriversThe decision is ultimately yours, but here are the details to consider when deciding if snow tires will grace your vehicle this winter season:

  • Obey the Law – Drivers throughout the province are required to abide by winter tire and chain signage starting October 1 until March 31. If the highway signage says you need winter tires, you could be charged if you don’t have them. 
  • 7 Degree Rule – The 7 degree rule can be useful to determine how likely it is that you will need snow tires. If your area of BC typically stays above 7 degrees throughout the year, all season tires are suitable. If the temperature tends to dip below the 7 degree mark, winter tires are advisable. Check out the seasonal outlook for this year and make an educated decision. Those living in northern and more mountainous areas may feel more comfortable with greater tread underneath them. 
  • Safety for All Tires – Regardless of your final decision, traction is important in all temperatures. Air pressure should be checked regularly to extend the life of your tires and keep you in control of your vehicle. When temperatures drop, so does tire pressure; so check your set at least once a month during the cooler months. 
  • Back Up Plans – Even the best meteorologists cannot predict the weather. To be on the safe side, you may want to carry chains for additional traction. Be sure to think ahead. If you are planning a ski holiday or visiting family in colder areas of the province or country, it is a good idea to have winter tires installed on your vehicle.

Stay Safe this Winter with Driving Lessons in West Vancouver
Beyond your vehicle, feeling confident in your own skills contributes to a safe winter driving season. North Shore Driving School offers Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) driving courses and theory classes in North Vancouver for students from Langley and across Greater Vancouver. Get your BC driver’s license or take a defensive driving course to prepare for changing conditions ahead. Our skilled instructors offer a combination of in-class lessons and in-vehicle training to prepare every student, no matter their comfort level or past experience, for what the road and the weather throws their way. Contact us today to learn more about the GLP courses at our North Vancouver driving school.

Drive safely with the right tires and the right techniques. Schedule your driving school lessons to learn the basics or get a refresher class before winter. Call our GLP driving school today at 604-988-1138 or contact us online to find out more about our classes across Greater

Learn More About Ice Road Truckers from a Class 1 Driving School in British Columbia

Changing seasons bring changing road conditions. As temperatures cool, variable weather patterns including rain, fog, and eventually slush and ice can make driving difficult. Vancouver sees some unpredictable weather that can lead to visibility issues, but it is tough to compare to the challenges met by ice road truckers. Freezing temperatures, isolation, and being constantly on alert for darting wildlife can make for an exhausting drive, even through short passages.

If you think you have what it takes to handle the long hours and terrain of an ice road trucker, driving classes can help you prepare. Visit a Class 1 driving school in Abbotsford to find out more about the courses you need and to learn defensive driving techniques. Start your driving lessons today to get licensed and drive a truck masterfully across challenging ice roads. 

All About the Ice Roads

Wondering what exactly “ice roads” are and how it all began? Read below to learn more about these interesting seasonal highways before you take your driving classes.

  • What are ice roads? – Ice roads are smooth, flat surfaces that connect areas over frozen waterways. Void of obstacles, they are regularly plowed and create easy passage through freezing areas of the north and south. They are often built in place of typical roads due to the expensive and difficult nature of building over boggy, muskeg land.
  • What vehicles drive on ice roads? – Large trucks are seen most often on these smooth, slick passageways. The occasional pickup truck, small car and snowmobile also uses the roads.
  • What is driving like? – Due to the dangerous nature of driving over water, vehicle speeds must be limited to around 25 km/h in order to avoid causing waves under the surface. The weight of the trucks and waves they cause can lead to damage to the surface of the road and be dangerous for drivers. 
  • What dangers are there? – Pressure ridges, caused by variations in temperature, can lead to surface breaks and create hazards on the road. Wildlife, speeding, and visibility issues may also cause troubles, so being alert and thinking of safety first is crucial. 
  • Where are these roads? – In Canada, ice roads can be found in the northern territories and northern areas of Ontario and other provinces. Internationally, China, Estonia, Antarctica, Finland, Russia, and other northern nations also use these roads.

Begin Your Ice Road Trucking Career with Driving Classes in Abbotsford and Coquitlam

Inspired to take on the real winter roads? Start with the proper licensing and a solid foundation of driving and safety techniques to keep you warm on even the longest stretches of ice road. North Shore Driving School offers truck driving classes and their Burnaby truck driving school educates students from across Surrey, Coquitlam, and the Greater Vancouver area. Regardless of your level of experience, our certified instructors can teach you the skills you need for a successful drive or career change. With classes tailored to your goals and designed to teach professional driving through all conditions, we can help prepare you for the north.

Call our truck driving school in Burnaby today at 604-299-9292 to learn more about our classes or to register for your truck driving classes in Greater Vancouver. Contact us online to learn more about our other driving school locations and courses.

Winter Truck Driving Tips

Winter truck driving can be a completely different experience compared to summer driving. Experience helps, but even those who have taken on the harshest road conditions can use a friendly reminder on how to stay safe and warm on the roads this winter season. For truck drivers, it can be helpful to remind yourself of some of the tricks for handling commercial vehicles and large trucks on roads covered with ice, sleet, snow, freezing rain and everything that Mother Nature throws at us in the winter.

Tips for Truck Drivers in Winter Conditions

Be prepared for the snow, slush and ice this season. Here are some things you can do to prepare your truck for the cold road ahead:

  • Inspect Your Truck Before You Leave – Take the time to properly remove snow and ice from your vehicle. Do a thorough job removing snow from the roof, hood, trunk, lights and windows to ensure maximum visibility on the road.
  • Keep a Winter Driving Kit in Your Truck – Be prepared with a winter kit and keep it in an accessible place in your vehicle. Your kit should include: proper clothing (extra layers, warm gloves, and rain gear), a flashlight, batteries, blankets, water, non-perishable food, First Aid kit, sand or salt, washer fluid, windshield scraper and brush, jumper cables, and tire chains or traction mats.
  • Leave a Little Extra Time and Space – It is important not to speed or rush in winter conditions. Drive slower and leave extra space between you and other vehicles in order to account for decreased traction on the roads. The required stopping distance increases as the temperature drops, so being patient and alert can make a big difference in winter weather.
  • Use Evasive Manoeuvres and Steer with Confidence – When driving at speeds above 40 km/h, deceleration and steering around obstacles requires less distance than braking to a complete stop. Sudden braking or steering in winter conditions may cause you to lose control of your vehicle, so steer with precision and control. Be aware of your trailer pushing your vehicle along curves and turns. If you do find yourself in a skid: depress the clutch quickly, look at the left mirror, steer and counter-steer as quickly as possible to get back in front of the trailer.

Most importantly, don’t risk your safety. If the conditions are too difficult to manage, do not drive or find a safe place to stop and wait for the storm to pass.

Prepare for Winter with Lessons from a Reputable Driving School

Whether you are an experienced truck driver or looking to learn, driving lessons in BurnabyCoquitlam, Abbotsford or anywhere else in the Greater Vancouver area can help you improve your skills and stay sharp on the road. North Shore Driving School offers personalized driving courses that will have you handling your truck with confidence, regardless of the weather conditions.

North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers truck driving lessons at our driving school in Surrey, Burnaby and surrounding areas. Prepare yourself for another winter season, or learn how to handle a large vehicle, with experienced instructors and a variety of course offerings.

Learn more about our truck driving courses. Give us a call at 604-988-1138 or use this online contact form to get in touch.