Car News

Video: How Not to Drive in Winter

If you weren't sure how we felt about snow tires, then maybe some of the articles we've done about them, and how much better they are than all-season tires will help make our point. But even the best snow tires in the world, mounted on the best four-wheel drive system can't help you if you don't drive to the conditions. Even the best winter driving training won't help you if you don't respect the conditions. As this terrifying video taken yesterday in Quebec shows, sometimes even if you respect the conditions, when the drivers around you don't then massive pileups can and will happen.

The huge collision happened on highway 10, near Magog, PQ. Fortunately, despite more than 60 cars and trucks being involved, nobody was killed. There were 12 people injured, but none reported as serious. Sadly, in another crash on the 401 near Kingston, Ontario, under similar conditions a truck driver lost his life.

Chain reactions like this are common when visibility is bad especially when roads are slick. People drive faster than they can see. When you're driving faster than you can see, you don't have time to react when there is a collision in front of you. Some of the cars in the video seem to be driving at nearly the speed limit, even near the end of the clip. That gives them little or no time to react before they slam into stopped cars. It can happen in the snow, the fog, or even at night. If you are going fast enough that you don't have time to see, react to, and stop for a problem, then you are going too fast.

Look closely, and many of the vehicles involved aren't using their lights, or have only daytime running lights. If your daytime running lights are on, then your taillights are off. That extra light could be the difference between disaster and inconvenience when visibility is bad.

So what should you do if despite your winter tires and slowing down for bad visibility, you still end up caught in a chain reaction crash like this one? Police generally recommend that you stay in your car, seatbelt on. Your car is designed to help save you in a rear end crash. Even a second or third one. If you get out and try to run to the bank like the people in this video, there's a good chance you could be struck by a speeding car or truck.

So stay safe out there. Enjoy winter, but if the visibility is bad, then sometimes it's best to just stay put for a while. If you can.