Conquer Your Winter Driving Fears

Here, simple, effective ways to deal with four major winter driving hazards.

Every year, winter driving is a source of many unpleasant surprises.For many, driving on snowy or icy roads is a cause for alarm and even a source of stress. Black ice, loss of control, other drivers, and snow storms are the four major fears identified by Canadians in a recent Michelin survey.

To give you some insights into these problems and allow you to benefit from the experience of a pro, we asked Richard Spénard, professional race car driver and driving instructor, to share his know-how with you. He offers some simple, effective ways to deal with these four major driving hazards this winter.

Black ice: slow down
That thin layer of transparent ice is almost invisible on the road – that’s why it is indisputably the most dangerous of surfaces. So drive slowly while frequently testing your vehicle’s braking ability by regularly tapping lightly on the brakes to check their reaction and the grip of your tires. That way, you’ll be aware of the driving surface and won’t be taken by surprise.

Loss of control: focus on your destination
When you lose control of your vehicle, it can be difficult to resume your initial direction. If you lose control, always focus on the direction you want to go rather than on the obstacle you’re trying to avoid. Take your foot off the accelerator, avoid wrestling with the steering wheel, and, above all, don’t slam on the brakes. This simple technique will help you avoid many problems.

Other drivers: keep your distance
Although some people believe they are past masters at winter driving -beware. Nobody is safe from dangerous weather and road conditions. Be wary of other drivers. Drive defensively, slow down, and keep an even longer distance than usual between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you.

Snow storms: prepare for the worst
Nothing beats preparing your vehicle to meet any situation. Get into the habit of checking weather conditions before setting off and delaying or moving up your departure time based on the forecast. Also prepare an emergency kit containing a blanket, flashlight, matches, toque and mittens. Remember that it’s important to prepare carefully for every trip and to remove all the snow from your vehicle to ensure maximum road visibility.

Everything you need to know about winter driving with a single click

For more details or tips, stop by Michelin’s Winter Driving Academy. This interactive website offers educational content developed by Canadian experts for Canadian drivers to help you adopt simple, effective habits to conquer your winter driving fears. Test your knowledge at and, above all, drive safely.