Articles for Non-Lawyers

Photo: Car driving on a winter road

New Year’s Resolutions to Make if You Plan to Drive This Winter by Patricia Santucci

Here comes the New Year… and with it a lot of you will be setting resolutions to “better yourself”. This year please consider a few winter driving safety resolutions so that you and I don’t meet “by accident” over the holidays.

Here are 7 Lucky New Year’s Resolutions to Make if You Plan to Drive This Winter:

  1. “Curb” your urge to use your cell phone when you are behind the wheel:
    This is an issue at any time of the year, but especially true when out in winter driving conditions. Do not use your cell phone for talking or texting while driving. If you must speak on the phone, use a Bluetooth device. If you can’t control the urge to use your phone, then download a free app for your phone which can keep you from participating in the deadly combination of texting and driving.

  2. If you see an accident, pass by without “tweeting” about it:
    This is of course related to Resolution #1. There are enough “rubberneckers” as it is, and nothing is more annoying (and dangerous) than when drivers slow down to check out an accident on the roadway, and if you are texting or typing, you are likely to be the cause of another one, especially if conditions are icy or snowy.

  3. Wait for the blizzard to subside before going outside:
    As a driver you face additional hazards when driving in winter weather. Snow, ice, fog and freezing rain all increase your chances of being involved in an accident. Make it your resolution to check road and weather conditions before heading out in your vehicle. If you can, avoid driving if the conditions are bad.

  4. If there is ice or snow, take it slow:
    Have you ever felt that “anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” Notwithstanding what other drivers are doing, it is extra important in the winter to drive the speed limit, or slower if winter conditions are present. The best car safety device is said to be a rear-view mirror with a police officer in it. Make it your resolution this year to travel the speed limit by pretending you see a cop in your rear view mirror all the time. Instead of speeding, leave sooner… drive slower… and live longer.

  5. Never tire of winter tires:
    Even though you are not required by law to have winter-certified (or snow) tires installed on your vehicle in Ontario, consider using them. Make sure your vehicle is winterized with four matched winter tires, and lessen your risk of injury in a vehicle collision this winter.

  6. Follow the scout motto and “Be Prepared“:
    Make sure to keep your car in top condition by performing regular tire checks and routine maintenance to help ensure that your vehicle is ready for winter driving. Top up your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid frequently and keep extra in your vehicle. Keep winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. Pack a basic car kit with food and water, a blanket, first aid kit, snow shovel, and anything else you think you may need in case of an emergency/

  7. Watch out for Snow Plows:
    Snow plow trucks are dangerous things, not annoying obstacles that slow you down. When you are approaching a plow truck, remember to slow down and use extra caution. Often, a snowplow truck that is in operation will create a “mini-blizzard” around the truck, affecting your visibility. Don’t get too close! Do not get between two plows. Plows have to go slow to do the job. Let them do it and do not get in their way.

At their best, car accidents are punishable by mountains of insurance paperwork. At their worst, they can take your life. At their most common, they can cause property damage and injury. Please adopt these New Year’s Resolutions and lessen your chances of being involved in a winter collision.

I want to wish you and your family safe travels this winter, and all through the New Year.

Happy Holidays from Santucci Law!

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website