This October, we have so much to be thankful for especially the great weather! But as we prepare for snowfall, let’s take a moment to look at a few safety tips for Driving:
1. Have the right tires – When temperatures drop to 7 degrees Celsius or lower summer tires begin to harden, which causes them to lose grip and traction even without snow or ice present. And the colder it gets the less effective they become. Winter tires are primarily designed to move water. When your tires apply pressure to snow or ice they melt the top section and create a thin film of water (the exact same thing happens when you ice skate). And if the water is not moved out of the way the car will hydroplane! This is exactly why winter tires have such large grooves and treads- to quickly move water away to the sides and allow the vehicle to contact the surface. It’s about compound, not tread! Despite how it looks from the treads, the most important part of a winter tire is the composition of its rubber compound- which stays soft and pliable in freezing temperatures.
2. Don’t trust AWD/4WD Drive – Believe it or not AWD/4WD vehicles help mostly with acceleration- not stopping! Vehicles with AWD/4WD can accelerate better than on ice or snow than a vehicle with two driven wheels. However, when it comes to turning the vehicle limits are determined by the amount of grip and traction, not the number of driven wheels.
3. Watch the temperature – Let’s not forget that the temperature only has to change one degree – one tiny little degree – to go from wet to ice; from damp to slippery.
Pay attention to all those factors and you’ll substantially improve your chances of coping safely with the season’s first snowfall – and those that will inevitably follow.
The latest Alberta OHS Publication reminds us about the requirements of Health and Safety (H&S) Programs. A “health and safety program” means a co-ordinated system of procedures, processes and other measures that is designed to be implemented by organizations in order to promote continuous improvement in occupational health and safety.
Bearing this in mind, a key element of a robust H&S Program is Hazard Assessment and Control. Be sure to review your Hazard Assessments to incorporate hazards of driving in icy conditions, working in extreme temperatures and how the change in season can affect the safety of your workforce and those that might be affected by your operations. Stay safe and Happy Autumn!