Winter Driving Tips To Banff
Safe Driving Through the Canadian Rockies


Winter Travel Tips to Banff
Winter Driving Tips -
To Banff

Banff Weather is unpredictable – at best.

It’s possible to have sunshine, snow, wind or rain – all in the same day.

The Trans-Canada Highway 1 is one of the major transportation routes in Canada.

It’s also the only way to get to The National Park. The Trans Canada is open in all four seasons...it's one of the best-maintained roads in Canada.

Whether you arrive by car or hop on a shuttle bus, you’ll travel the broad, four-lane highway west from Calgary 120 km (75 mi) to get to the townsite of Banff. It is only 58 km (35 mi) further west to reach Lake Louise.

If you are driving in the winter, note that sections of the highway between Lake Louise and Revelstoke. When you travel by car to Banff in the winter, watch prudent Canadian drivers and do what they are doing. Make sure you have a winter survival kit and cell phone in your car, just in case you run into a problem.

A winter survival kit should include extra warm clothing including gloves and a hat, a blanket, battery booster cables, flashlight and batteries, an emergency candle (for warmth), waterproof matches, snow shovel, window scraper, snow brush, a rope, traction aids (like kitty litter), non-perishable food items, bottled water, and road flares.

Don’t expect clear and dry summer highway conditions in the winter. The highway maintenance contractors work hard to keep Alberta's highways clear and open to traffic during the winter.However, some blizzards may hinder keeping the roadways free of snow and ice.

Winter Driving Tips to Banff basically are common sense....drive cautiously during bad weather. Slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. The posted speed limit is intended for ideal road conditions. Even if road signs say you may drive 110 km/h, that doesn’t mean you should if the road is icy or snow-covered.

Motorists have a legal obligation to drive according to road conditions. You can be charged with a traffic offense by police if you are found not to be doing so.

Unless travel is absolutely necessary, stay off the roads during major storms.

Some Additional Winter Driving Tips when traveling to Banff:

Stay back from snowplows. They will let you pass every five to eight kilometres or when it is safe to do so.

Road Trip Planning - Plan the best route to your destination ahead of time.

Keep your headlights on all the time - don’t rely on daytime running lights. Low beams are more effective than high beams in fog or heavy snow conditions.

Never use cruise control in winter conditions.

When traveling on snowy roads, try driving outside of the previous tire tracks to give you some extra traction. This also helps when there are shiny ruts in the road.

Signal well in advance of turning to give other motorists time to anticipate and react to your actions. Check your rear view and side mirrors. Always shoulder check before changing lanes.

Avoid sudden moves by anticipating turns or lane changes. Abrupt changes in direction or slamming on the brakes could cause you to spin out of control.

On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop.

Remember that bridge decks may be slippery even when other parts of the highway are not, since they are subject to greater temperature fluctuations.

Know your braking system and how it reacts on ice. Always be gentle with braking pressure on slick roads.

Avoid braking on curves by driving through them at a safe, steady speed.

Accelerate slightly when approaching a hill and then maintain a steady speed going up.

Gear down for both uphill climbs and downhill grades. This can help you avoid brake wear and chances of sliding. But be careful of abrupt downshifting as it can upset a vehicle’s balance and cause a skid to occur, particularly when turning.

Take your foot off the brake if your vehicle begins to skid and steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly.

If you are driving a rear-wheel drive, prepare to steer just enough in the opposite direction in order to prevent a counter skid.

Winter Driving Tips with a few good links to check on winter driving conditions in and around Banff......

Alberta Motor Association Road Reports

Road Conditions in Banff National Park

Alberta Motor Association Highway alert: For road closures and road conditions for British Columbia highways call Drive BC at 1-800-550-4997 or visit ... Lac des Arcs to Banff Park Gates.

The best winter driving tips when traveling to Banff is "Common Sense" and "Common Courtesy"...have a great trip!

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