A new survey shows motorists have much more confidence in their own winter driving ability than other drivers’ capabilities.
The Alberta Motor Association survey found only 19 per cent of motorists felt confident in other people’s winter driving, while 92 per cent were confident in their own performance.
Gurvinder Multani, owner of Red Deer Driving School, said the more experienced the driver, the more incidents are likely to happen, because they start to become overconfident.
He always tells his students to “underestimate yourself and underestimate your vehicle.”
Drivers should always be aware of road conditions beneath their tires and should plan two lights ahead, he said.
“They should anticipate all the moves, and all the stops,” Multani said.
The AMA survey showed that men and women rated other drivers 3.6 and 3.3 respectively on a seven-point scale.
When it came to their own winter driving, men rated themselves 6.3, compared to women, who rated themselves 5.6.
Carl Fakeley, owner of D2L Driver Education Ltd. in Red Deer, said people like to complain about other drivers, but for the most part, people recognize difficult and dangerous situations, so their confidence is well deserved.
“The overwhelming majority of people are doing quite well. We’d have far more collisions and fender benders if they weren’t,” Fakeley said.
He said there will always be some people doing unsafe things, or having lapses of concentration. But if everyone else is doing what they should, they will be able to compensate for others who are not, by slowing down or making room.
“None of us are perfect. None of us are robots and we can all end up doing something silly on the road from time to time.”
The AMA recommends installing winter tires, which provide better traction on snow and ice, reduce stopping distance and sharpen directional control. About 67 per cent of drivers use winter tires.
Fakeley, who supported the use of winter tires, said some people with front-wheel drive vehicles only put winter tires on the back to save money.
“It might help with accelerating. The problem is when you have to break. That’s where you can very easily be put into a skid. It’s important to have the same tread, the same grip, and same traction on all four tires.”