Whatever the road conditions, the show must go on. Seems like a simple enough statement, right? Not necessarily so for Albertans who have to contend with some of the most notorious annual winter driving conditions in the country! It’s true, winter driving in this province can be a lot to handle, and the stakes only rise when the job requires towing. Luckily you’ve come to the right place for advice; at Windsor Ford, we’re old-hat at this. Having a a few handy winter towing life-hacks up your sleeve can help you in a pinch, and we think everyone ought to be in the know about the best ways to handle whatever Old Man Winter hurls your way on the road, this season. This post lets you in on a few things the pros have been doing to ensure that they and whatever they’re towing go the full distance. Read on to find out more!
Repeat after me: Speed. Momentum. Traction.
When towing through snow, ice, sleet, hail and whatever else decides to happen on Alberta’s fickle winter roads, you adopt the above heading as your mantra. As any veteran hauler of anything will tell you, driving with a trailer is a completely different kettle of fish compared to driving unattached. Keeping these three paramount considerations of speed, momentum, and traction front-of-mind will keep you aware and in control this winter season, no matter what you’ve got bringing up the rear. To help, we’ve organized our winter towing tips along these lines.
Driving appropriately for winter conditions is a no-brainer. Exceeding posted speed limits and maneuvering recklessly are excellent ways to end up firmly planted in the ditch, and that’s if you’re lucky. It’s vital that you’re familiar with your area’s projected weather forecast to avoid being blindsided by an unpredictable winter squall or, heaven forbid, freezing rain. The truth is, when it comes to towing, some conditions are just too plain severe to leave to chance.
Of course, waiting for sunshine and blue sky is not a luxury afforded to all drivers. If you do find yourself having to venture out on the road in less-than-ideal conditions this winter, its important to remember the following:
- keep your speed at a level that you can control. While this might seem a bit basic, it’s easy to catch yourself grabbing gears and over-revving as you impatiently attempt to navigate some glacial road surface. This is especially important to keep in mind as you attempt to summit hills and the like.
- don’t use cruise control. Don’t even look at it.
- avoiding sudden, drastic maneuvers behind the wheel is key to ensuring that you remain in control of your vehicle and accompanying trailer. Panicked starts, braking, and cornering will only impart the uniquely ominous feeling of sitting in a 10,000lb tractionless mass of steel, glass, and moving parts.
Momentum is of particular importance when doing anything on the road during the winter season, let alone towing. Ensuring that you’re maintaining a manageable driving speed will have a direct effect on the momentum you’ll have to contend with when the time comes to apply the brakes. When it comes to stopping exactly where you intend to and not 60 feet down the road, you’ll want to consider the following:
- ensuring the reliability of your vehicle and trailer’s brakes before the arrival of Alberta’s famously psychotic winter driving season is a good way to reduce stress when it comes to preparedness for the road. Brake inspections are the bread and butter of our service professionals here, at Windsor Ford, and they’re always willing answer your queries and dispense helpful expert advice when it comes to prepping your vehicle for winter!
- If the back end of your vehicle starts to slide, its important to activate the trailer brakes to help correct course. Of course, hammering the brakes will only lock the wheels up so its important to remember to pulse the brakes on and off to keep the trailer relatively straight too. If conditions allow, accelerating briefly to bring yourself and the trailer back in line with one another can be helpful, just make sure to slow right back down afterwards!
Keeping adequate traction is essential for remaining road-bound, and that’s the ultimate goal here, with these winter towing tips. Again, the key is to adopt a measured, careful approach to the driving task at hand. Impatience can jeopardize your vehicle’s commitment to the pavement and promptly halt your progress – permanently in some cases. Don’t wait until it’s too late to be a defensive driver.
- better safe than sorry; tow in 4X4
- you’re better off lugging up the hills, shifting only when you have to. When doing so feather the fuel; your RPM’s will still be on the lower side and you won’t spin out so quickly. This is a way more effective means of preserving traction when you’re in the thick of the winter towing experience.
- ensuring that both your vehicle and trailer are equipped with robust winter tires is a must.
- chains are an excellent investment when it comes to winter towing. At Windsor Ford, our service experts are always at the ready with advice and expertise to help you select the right winter accessories for your vehicle and ensure their proper installation.
Winter towing tips to travel with
We know this is a lot to keep in mind. The main thing is to drive within your own limits and recognize the conditions of the road. Adopting a moderate, careful approach to winter towing is the best way to ensure that you and your winter cargo arrive at the destination safely, and in one piece! And remember, at Windsor Ford, we’re always willing to provide you with answers and solutions when it comes to the unique challenges of winter towing in Alberta!