Road Conditions

Topic Progress:
  • Road Conditions Sand or Gravel

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    Avoid turning or braking on it.
    Slow down before reaching, and coast over it.
    Resume speed once safely past the danger

  • Fallen Leaves

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    Reduce traction on the road, especially when wet
    Manoeuvre carefully and increase your following distance.
    If you must brake, pump the brake gently

  • Heavy Vehicle or Truck Crossings

    Because of what the vehicles are carrying (sand, gravel etc) some will be on the road. Anticipate this and reduce your speed.

  • Potholes

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    Occur more frequently in the spring thaw season
    Avoid driving through them
    If unavoidable, turn on hazard lights, braking until just before going in to the pothole (lets suspension stabilize), roll over the hazard and return to normal speed.
    Turn off hazard lights
    If there was damage done to your vehicle by the pothole, leave hazard lights on, pull to the side and examine your vehicle.

  • Approaching Unpaved Roadways

    When pavement changes to gravel, there is often gravel on the pavement side, as well as potholes in the gravel where the pavement and gravel meet.
    Reduce speed and be ready to go around potholes

  • Driving on Unpaved Roadways

    Less traction than on a paved roadway
    Drive at a much slower speed
    Lengthen following distance
    Avoid ruts in the road, especially if it is raining
    When you return to pavement, take a moment to check your vehicle and clean dust from your headlights and windshield

  • Hills

    Shifting gears uphill reduces speed and shortens braking distance, downhill increases speed and lengthens breaking distance
    To shift gears uphill, shift to a lower gear to make the engine turn faster and have more power
    Downhill, shift to a lower gear as well to use engine compression to slow you down

  • Visibility and Speed

    As you approach the top of the hill, your visibility will be reduced
    Stay in the right side of your lane, and reduce speed as you reach the crest of the hill, until you can see the other side.

  • Brake Failure or Overheating

    Check the brakes before descending.
    This will allow you extra time to pull the emergency brake if required, before you start descending quickly. Continuous braking causes the brakes to wear out and become less strong over time. This is why it is important to downshift as well and save wear on your brakes.
    Uphill, the transmission and engine must work harder than normal, and so you must downshift. Without downshifting, the additional strain can cause engine/transmission to overheat.

  • Mountain Driving

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    Affects both vehicle and driver. High altitude can cause drowsiness, shortness of breath and headache. Plan rest stops/change drivers regularly.

  • Downshift in the same way that is done on hills

    Vehicles Passing You
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    If you see a number of vehicles following you, look for pull-out areas or wide shoulders and let them pass.
    When you meet a long line of traffic in the oncoming lane, be prepared to pull over to the shoulder to allow movement of an impatient driver coming from the opposite direction.

  • Passing Slower Vehicles
    Be patient and careful.

    High Altitude Problems
    The thin air and lower atmospheric pressure affect your engine and it will take longer to accelerate than normal.

  • Switchbacks

    Very sharp U-turns which require a very slow speed to negotiate.
    Look out for oncoming vehicles that may cross the centre line.

  • Overheating

    Engine may overheat due to steep uphill.
    Check the temperature gauge frequently.
    Turn off Air Conditioning and turn heater on HIGH at full heat to pull engine heat into passenger area.
    Stop and allow engine to cool if warning comes on.

  • Vapour Lock

    Raised operating temperature causes fuel to vaporize in the gas lines, and cannot be pumped by the system. The vehicle will not restart. Let it cool and try again

  • Reducing Hydroplaning

    Check your tires and tire inflation regularly
    Reduce speed when facing standing water or puddles
    Drive in the tracks of other vehicles

    If you hydroplane :
    – Shift to NEUTRAL (N)
    – Activate the hazard lights
    – Grip the steering wheel firmly
    – Avoid any braking or accelerating
    – Check your rear view mirror to see if other vehicles are coming
    – The water resistance will slow you down, and once traction is regained, brake gently to reduce your speed.
    – Re-engage transmission and resume driving at a slower speed.

  • Wind

    Wind can create icy patches, blowing snow, and sideways rain.

    To maintain the control of your vehicle in large winds :
    – Reduce your speed
    – Grip the steering wheel firmly
    – Compensate gently for the gusts of wind
    – Avoid passing and increase your following distance
    – Stay to the right side of your lane

  • Visual Conditions

    If anything reduces your ability to see, it reduces your ability to control your vehicle
    Passengers or cargo in your vehicle can become visual obstructions if they shift or move.
    If your view is not clear, double check and perform your manoeuvres more slowly
    Keep your windows and lights clear of dirt to reduce light reflection and decrease glare.