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Winter Wisdom: SGI winter driver tips following first major snowfall of the season

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — The first signs of winter have hit the prairies and representatives from SGI are reminding Saskatchewan drivers to take a little extra care and be prepared for anything this season.

As Saskatoon wrestles with the 8 centimetres of snow it received over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s (SGI) Tyler McMurchy reminds drivers to slow their pace when planning a winter drive.

“Making sure that you’re giving yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going,” said McMurchy. 

“So, it might mean leaving early because you will have to adjust your speed for these driving conditions. The posted speed limits are not necessarily the speed you want to be driving at when you’re dealing with reduced traction and visibility on the roads.

“So, reduce your speed accordingly, increase your following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. It’s really important to increase your following distance to five or six seconds from the three you’d normally have in ideal driving conditions.”

There are several steps drivers can take before even sitting down in their vehicle, to help prevent accidents from happening on the road.

“Safe winter driving starts before you even hit the road,” said McMurchy. 

“You want to start by fully cleaning off your vehicle, removing the snow and frost and the ice from your windshield, your front and back windshields, as well as your side windows, your mirrors, fully cleaning off your headlights and taillights as well.”

SGI recommends that all vehicles contain a winter safety kit, especially those that are frequently travelling on the highway.

“That can include things like booster cables, a small snow shovel, traction mats, extra clothing or blankets to keep warm in the event that you do get stranded for any period of time, some non-perishable food, a candle to melt snow for water,” he said. 

“We’re not dealing with blizzard conditions at this point, but it bears in mind, having that emergency kit can really make a situation like that something you can deal with more easily.”

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