Tips for safe winter driving

Many businesses depend on the transportation of goods and services, rain or shine. If your business is one of those, you’re aware how the changing seasons can affect driving conditions. As it gets colder, road conditions worsen and become unpredictable. It’s important to practice safe winter driving habits – whether you’re driving a company vehicle or your own.

An important start to any winter season is completing a winter maintenance check on your vehicle(s). This is a great opportunity to identify any issues or potential repairs that need to be addressed before taking a vehicle on the road. After you’ve completed a maintenance check, consider who will be getting behind the wheel. It’s important that drivers feel ready and comfortable, especially if they might be on the road for days at a time. The right training can help a driver stay informed and navigate tough road conditions.

To help your business reinforce safe winter driving and determine who should be on the road, here are a few tips:


Try and select drivers who have the most years of experience. This may not always be possible so it’s important to have your own winter driving guidelines in place. The Canada Safety Council offers a set of guidelines which include:

  • Driving smoothly and slowly
  • Avoid tailgating
  • Understanding what to do in the event of a skid
  • Keeping lights on during low visibility


Driving is an activity that requires you to be focused and alert. An attitude of complacency can be dangerous and may result in unsafe driving habits. If a driver has a history that indicates an issue with speeding, or if they have been involved in collisions, try to avoid selecting them to operate vehicles in the winter.


Tiredness, weariness, or exhaustion can result in slow reflexes and an inability to focus on the road. If a driver is fatigued, encourage them to report it and ensure they do not feel punished for doing so. Drivers should not get behind the wheel if they know they are fatigued. If a driver is spending days on the road, encourage them to get rest when they can.

Winter driving training

 Winter weather is often unpredictable and can change the driving conditions on a moment’s notice. Snowy or icy roads can make typical vehicle maneuvers more difficult. It may be useful to incorporate training on safe winter driving into your driver’s work schedule. The IHSA provides tips, guidelines, and resources when it comes to winter road safety.

The three-point contact rule

When a driver enters or exits a vehicle, they should always follow the three-point contact rule. This means that they should have three points of contact with the vehicle by facing it when they are entering and distributing weight evenly among all points of contact. This helps drivers maintain their balance on slippery conditions. Proper footwear with adequate grip is also recommended.

Pack an emergency car kit

In the event a driver’s vehicle stops working or is caught in an unexpected winter storm, having the essentials on hand can help keep them safe as they wait to be rescued. An emergency car kit should include tools that can address vehicle issues, such as a tow rope or chain, booster cables, fuel line antifreeze, and a fire extinguisher. It should also include items that can help keep them warm and safe, such as a first-aid kit, bottled water, gloves, a blanket, matches, and extra clothing. To help alert rescuers, the kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares, or warning lights and bright cloth to use as a flag. Drivers should also keep a copy of the company’s emergency contact list in their vehicles that includes contact information for their supervisors, so they can inform them.

Protecting your business

Practicing safe driving behaviours in the winter requires skill, patience, and commitment. The right training and information can help protect your business and is an important part of your risk management planning. Learn more about what other winter-related risks your business may face and possible business insurance solutions that can help mitigate losses in the event of the unexpected.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

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