November came in with a vengeance in Calgary, with the city plunged into -30 degrees Celsius at hardly a week into the month. Along with the cold came up to 25 centimetres of snow, leading to treacherous road conditions throughout the city.
Mirage’s snow removal and snow plowing teams were out early to clear our residential and commercial properties free of snow and ice. We pride ourselves in arriving promptly after a snowfall, doing our job professionally and efficiently, and leaving knowing your paths, driveways, and parking lots are safe for everyone.
Safety is one of our highest priorities, and we ensure our employees are trained to properly use all of our equipment: from our largest snow plow to our smallest shovel. In addition, we pay a lot of attention to road safety as our crew captains drive around with their teams. Over the years, we have learned a lot.
Here are a few winter driving tips you may not have heard before.
Change your headspace
It takes time to get used to winter driving, just like it takes time to get used to winter. Rather than being frustrated by the extra minutes (or sometimes hours) it takes to get places, stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about everyone else on the road. We at Mirage consider ourselves responsible for the safety of others. As we are stewards of your property, we are also stewards of the road.
Leave early, drive safely, and set an example for others.
A good rule of thumb is to always leave four to five car lengths in front of you. Allow plenty of room to react to the road conditions, but also to the mistakes others may be making around you. Keep an eye out for those who are driving recklessly, and do your best to avoid them.
We should always be alert behind the wheel, but in the winter it’s even more important. When operating a vehicle in difficult conditions, you need to be very aware of what’s happening around you and attuned to how your vehicle is operating. Is it holding the road ok? How long is it taking to stop? This will allow you to ascertain the overall road conditions quickly and adjust accordingly.
Be sure to fully scrape and clean your vehicle of snow and ice before leaving and regularly check your lights. Keep your tires properly inflated, your oil clean and fresh, and your gas tank full.
Use winter tires
We highly recommend proper winter tires for winter driving. Rubber stiffens and hardens in cold weather, which causes tires to lose their grip. Winter tires are made out of a special kind of rubber that maintains its elasticity, malleability, and traction, even down to -30 degrees Celsius, helping you to stop about 30% faster than regular tires.
A more aggressive tread pattern allows winter tires to bite into snow and ice. They are also good for wet weather. Designed to push water to the side rather than simply roll over it, winter tires greatly reduce the chances of hydroplaning.
Always aim to schedule swapping out your tires before the end of October. Summer tires will start to stiffen and harden as soon as the temperatures are consistently below seven degrees Celsius.
If trouble happens anyway
Spinning out and getting stuck can happen even when you’re being as careful as possible. During the snowy months, always carry a foldable shovel (our favourite tool), an extra jacket, good gloves, and a pair of boots in your vehicle. A bag of de-icing agent is also a good idea.
When trying to get your car out of the snow, avoid spinning your tires. Spinning them just creates the perfect pocket for your tires to settle in for good. Go easy on the accelerator and try turning your wheels from right to left to find a new spot for your tires to gain some traction. You can also try “rocking” your vehicle back and forth in a straight line by switching quickly from forward to reverse to create enough of a path to get yourself out. If that doesn’t work, you may need to shovel. Clear the snow away from around each of your tires, as well as underneath, and try again. If you simply can’t free yourself, call for roadside assistance and follow their instructions.
A safety kit is imperative in the winter, especially if you do a lot of driving by yourself and in unpopulated areas. At the very least, a safety kit should contain:
- A warm blanket or sleeping bag
- Candles (for warmth) and a way to light them
- Water and non-perishable food
- A bright flashlight to signal those driving by
- A shovel to help dig yourself out if possible
Trust Mirage for your snow removal services
Mirage Landscaping is a family-owned business, and we work hard to maintain the reputation we have worked for decades to earn. Our snow removal contracts are clear and detailed so you know exactly what our obligations are, and we always live our obligations to the letter.
In addition to snow removal services, we also provide landscape maintenance and landscape construction services. We specialize in serving the southeast communities of Calgary, where we have lived and worked for several years. Contact us today for a fast and easy quote using our online form, or else give us a call at 403-252-5235. Unlike many landscaping and snow removal companies, we hold regular office hours and are easily reachable during the day.