It’s the New Year. Some areas have had it fairly mild, but winter is settling in across Canada. And a Canadian winter can be disruptive, and we can find ourselves working through the stages of the season.

There is a parallel between winter driving and some other, more serious challenges. Specifically the five stages of dealing with traumatic events: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

It’s only January now. In which stage do you find yourself?

Denial: The first response of many is denial. That dreaded first snowfall, and the sight of vehicles slipping and sliding around is a burden not everyone wants to acknowledge — so they don’t. Now have to do battle with frosted windshields and frozen locks, drivers fall into denial quite easily. They may acknowledge that the cold has indeed arrived, but still refuse to admit that they have to do anything differently. Who’s to say those old all-season tires aren’t good enough for another year? Or the 10-year-old battery?

Anger: Unfortunately, denial is an ineffective defense against the realities of winter driving, forcing drivers in denial to face the unpleasant facts and advance to the second stage of winter driving: anger. We’ve all been there, pounding the steering wheel for emphasis as we curse icy streets and snow plows as we try to make our way home or to the office.

Bargaining: Once past their anger, drivers are likely to begin to deal constructively with the realities of winter driving. This is the bargaining stage, when smart drivers seek out winter tires, a full checkup, and all the service needed to make sure their car or truck runs safely all winter long. They also pack an emergency kit — acknowledging that breakdowns can happen — and change their driving habits to fit the wintery conditions.

Depression: Even the most adaptable of drivers — even those who have now fully prepared for the treacherous conditions — can fall prey to the depression stage of winter driving. Drivers in this stage often wonder why they still live here and have to contend with the situation.

Acceptance: Drivers who have done their best to prepare themselves and their vehicles for winter driving quickly attain the fifth stage of winter driving: acceptance. Having done everything they can to prepare, they eventually relax, accept that winter is here, and know that they are ready as they can be. These drivers can be identified by the extension cords connected to their block heaters through the coldest nights, secure in their knowledge that even a Canadian winter doesn’t last forever.

The lesson here is that there’s a better way to cope with winter driving, and it’s as simple as getting vehicles prepared for the inevitable cold and slippery driving conditions. Contact any FFUN dealership to learn how one of our service advisors can help you get ready and stay safe.