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Winter Driving School

One students testimonial. Feb. 2014.

Why would anyone at this time of year willingly put themselves and their careening car on a surface of sheer ice? Why would they deliberately weave, accelerate, brake and corner on this treacherous surface? Why indeed, especially when that same person, just one year earlier, had done a series of 180s across the Queensway - between the Bronson and Parkdale Avenue exits - and hit the guardrail with such force their car rolled over three times.I am that person, and by the grace of God and many other fortunate elements on that fateful Wednesday last February, I did not have my young family in the car with me, I did not hit any other cars and I am able to write about that day now.The organizers of the Motorsport Club of Ottawa graciously invited me to take their Winter Driving Course at no charge after reading about my horrific accident in the Citizen's Upbeat section last year. They knew that I would forever be intimidated by winter driving conditions until I was able to gain confidence by learning effective carcontrol techniques on snowy and icy conditions.

Their one-day course, which has now finished for the season, is held at the Capital City Speedway in Stittsville. From 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 20 other students and I took our own cars through a combination of in-car instruction around the track and classroom exercises. Each new skill was explained in detail in the classroom and then we were taken out to the slippery track with an in-car instructor to practise that skill.This superb opportunity is provided by an equally superb group of volunteers. The Motorsport Club of Ottawa is a nonprofit club organized and run by the members. The love of motorsport is so strong with these members. They show up in extremely cold temperatures and spend the majority of the day outside monitoring, maintaining and mentoring while students drive around the track enhancing their driving skills, increasing their awareness of different surfaces and as such different traction, understanding the dynamics of their vehicle while braking, slaloming, skid controlling, cornering and practicing collision avoidance. My in car instructor, Evan Gamblin, was priceless with his patience and calm advice. His decade as a rally driver and conavigator brought tremendous practical experience to the ontrack lessons. It was a direct result of Evan and the members teaching the course that my confidence in winter driving was reinstated and I can keep mistakes on the road as far apart as possible.My hope is to not only make other drivers aware of this outstanding Winter Driving Course put on by Motorsport Club of Ottawa but also to thank the club and other drivers for their support. Whether you are a new or seasoned driver, taking this winter driving course will save lives and you'll be grateful you have these skills when you need them most.

Martha Tobin, Ottawa




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Winter Driving School


The Motorsport Club of Ottawa is offers a superb opportunity to learn the basics of winter driving techniques. The course is held at the Capital City Speedway in Stittsville, on a closed course. Our one day course offers lots of track time. Students learn in their own cars through a combination of in-car instruction and exercises. MCO is a non-profit club run by volunteers. Fees for the school are to cover the costs of track rental and course preparation and maintenance.

An Opportunity...

-to learn car control on snowy and icy conditions

-to gain confidence in winter driving conditions

-to learn effective skid control and stopping techniques


Winter Driving Schools for 2014

To learn critical winter driving skills students spend a full day at our Winter Driving facility at Capital City Speedway. Each new skill is explained first in the classroom and then the students take to our slippery track with an in-car instructor to practise that skill. Then it’s back to the classroom to learn the next skill. The day alternates between the classroom and the track until all the winter driving skills have been covered. Don’t be disappointed, sign up soon for the Motorsport Club of Ottawa’s Winter Driving School by following the schedule and links below

2014 Winter Driving Events

Jan 11 Winter Driving School #1 Closed
Jan 18 Winter Driving School #2 Register
Jan 26 Winter Driving School #3 Register
Feb 02 Winter Driving School #4 Register
Feb 08 Winter Driving School #5 Register
Feb 15 Winter Driving School #6 Register


Topics covered in detail include

-winter driving basics



-braking (4 wheel lockup,no wheel lockup,pumping pedal,ABS,bank braking


-skid control (front wheel skid, rear wheel skid, skid control, steering during skids

-cornering technique

-collision avoidance


What you'll need

The school does not provide a lunch. You may bring your own or travel into the town of Stittsville at lunchtime (usually 1 hour long). In the morning there is coffee and donuts. The classroom is heated and comfortable. Make sure you arrive at the track with a full tank of gas. On sunny days it can be quite bright. Sunglasses may be in order.

-drive your own vehicle

-appropriate outdoor clothing

-drivers licence and insurance


Media Coverage of MCO's Driving School

See the other articles in this section for the TV coverage of our schools

Course Availability

The school is held based on demand (course requires at least 10 students), and dependant on track conditions provided by Mother Nature. Courses are held in January and February of each winter.


Online registration is mandatory. See the event schedule for links to register.


From Ottawa, take the 417 West, past ScotiaBank Place. Take the Highway 7 exit towards Carleton Place/Toronto. Take your first exit to Hazeldean Rd. Turn right at the end of the off ramp. Take the first left onto Speedway Road. Follow the access Speedway Road past Spruceridge Road until you get to the second yellow entrance gate onthe right. Turn in at the second gate and drive down the access road until you get to a parking lot with a building. You're there.


Course Outline

The school is a full day school. Students are expected to arrive around 8:00am, as the school starts at 8:30 sharp. The school runs all day, and is usually completed well before 16:00. A one hour lunch break is held at close to 12:00 noon.

A typical schedule of events for the day may look like the following, but is subject to change without notice:

Morning: Introductions                                   Afternoon: Lunch

Theory session                                             Briefing

Instructor familiarization                                Cornering

Braking demonstration and practice                Collision avoidance

Slalom                                                        Practice

Skid Control                                                 Debriefing & Graduation

driver's license and insuranceappropriate outdoor clothingdrive your own vehicleCollision avoidanceCornering TechniquesSkid control (front wheel skid, rear wheel skid, skid control, steering during skids)SlalomBraking (4 wheel lock-up, no wheel lock-up, pumping pedal, ABS, Snow bank braking)