Winter driving: what you need to know
The metropolis received its first snowfall of the year this week. The air is biting and a thin layer of ice has formed on the roadways. With the arrival of the long cold season, motorists are forced to review their way of driving and comply with a number of road safety requirements.
“In winter, drivers must adapt their driving to weather and road conditions,” notes the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
Four winter tires compliant
With certain exceptions, all vehicles traveling on provincial roads must be equipped with four compliant snow tires, from December 1 to March 15. Trailers are exempt from this obligation.
A fine of $200 to $300 is provided for drivers who do not comply with the regulations. The SAAQ invites citizens to check the condition of their winter tires before venturing onto the frozen strips of asphalt.
Tire groove depth should not be less than 1.6mm. To face the winter with serenity, it is recommended that it be at least 4.8 mm.
A $0.25 coin allows you to perform this check: « to measure depth, place a $0.25 coin in one of the grooves with the caribou's nose toward the bottom of the groove. If you see the animal's muzzle, the grip in deep snow will be poor. Check several grooves in various places to detect the wear of your tire,” explains the SAAQ.
In terms of compliance, a tire designed for winter driving must have the pictogram below or be equipped with studs.
“The use of spikes (studded tires) is permitted from October 15 to May 1 on commercial vehicles whose total laden mass does not exceed 3,000 kg, passenger vehicles and taxis,” recalls the SAAQ.
Reduce your speed
The Highway Safety Code requires motorists to reduce their speed when visibility is compromised by adverse conditions or when the road surface is slippery or the road surface has not been completely cleared.
Violators of these instructions are liable to a fine of $60 plus costs, as well as two demerit points.
“On the road, reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, especially when visibility is reduced or the road surface is slippery. If the weather is nice, beware of black ice,” warns the SAAQ.
With the time change and the early nightfall, society also reminds citizens to turn on their running lights and dipped beams when the weather is dark.
Thoroughly clear your car
“Driving in a mobile igloo is dangerous and prohibited,” insists the SAAQ. Before hitting the road, drivers should make sure their windshields and windows are clear and allow safe visibility. Again, recalcitrant could be fined $100 to $200 plus costs.
Users of the road network must also ensure that the roof of their vehicle is not covered with snow.
“It is prohibited to travel with a vehicle covered in snow, ice or any other material that may become detached and may present a danger to road users. The fine is $60 to $100 plus costs.”
The SAAQ also warns citizens against carbon monoxide, advising them not to start their car engine, turn on the ventilation and stay inside the vehicle when it is covered in snow.