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Defensive Driving
Backing Up
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Preventing Skids
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Survival Kit
To survive on the road in winter proper breaking is essential
Stopping on slippery surfaces means motorists must increase sight lines, following and stopping distances.
Beware of shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections. These are areas where ice is likely to form first or be the most slippery.
Always be extra careful about anticipating stops and try to brake early. Come to a stop smoothly and safely.
Road Conditions
When road conditions are bad or when you have been driving through wet or icy conditions, check your traction periodically and test your brakes early when slowing or stopping to make sure there is no fading. Water on the brake drums can seriously impair braking efficiency.
Keep your Distance
Stopping on slippery roads is more difficult than under normal conditions, so give yourself extra time and keep your distance.
Aniti-Lock Breaks System (ABS)
If you don't have an anti locking breaking system (ABS), in bad weather such as on wet, icy or snow covered roads, brake gradually to avoid locking the wheels. If the wheels do lock, ease up on the brakes until they unlock, then reapply pressure gradually.
How ABS works.
A sensor located at each wheel detects when the wheel stops turning and starts to skid. As soon as the skid is detected, the anti lock system relieves the pressure just enough to allow the wheel to turn again. This allows you to steer while you continue to bring the vehicle to a stop.

Braking with anti lock brakes:

According to a survey conducted by the CAA/AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety~ 50% of people are unaware of how anti lock brakes and traditional brakes differ. If you have an anti lock brake system (ABS), use the heel and toe method, but do not remove your foot from the brake. When you put on the brakes hard enough to make the wheels lock momentarily, you will typically feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot. Don't let up!

(Novice ABS users can try hard braking in a vacant snow covered parking lot.)

Braking if you don't have anti-lock brakes:
Technique for braking under these conditions is to use threshold braking together with de clutching (manual shift) or shifting to neutral (automatic transmission). The best way to threshold brake (to make a controlled stop) is the heel and toe method. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use your toes to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal just short of lockup to the point at which the wheels stop turning.

Under the stress of trying to stop quickly, drivers almost inevitably overreact and lock the wheels. If this happens, use toe and heel action to release brake pressure one or two degrees, then immediately reapply it with slightly less pressure.

Have periodic brake checks, by a licenced mechanic.
If you are braking on a slippery road and want to turn, reduce your speed as much as possible first and ease up on the brake pedal as you begin your turn, take your foot off the brake pedal.
Check your traction! If traction is bad, you may need two or three times more braking time and braking distance. Slow more at first (harder brake pressure) then AFTER the car responds you can ease up. This gives you more room if something goes wrong, and more time to make adjustments.
For other self-help advice on emergency preparedness, contact:

Communications Directorate
Emergency Preparedness Canada
Jackson Building
122 Bank Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Phone: (613) 991 7035
Fax. (613) 998 9589
Internet: cominfo@jackson epc.epc

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