Make sure your car is ready for winter:
- This includes having enough antifreeze, properly functioning brakes, lights, and wipers.
- Make sure that you keep your windshield washer fluid topped up with fluid that is rated for winter and keep an extra jug in the car.
- Keep your car fueled/charged up before any long trips, especially if the road conditions are poor in case, you are stuck somewhere.
- Have great winter tires!
Winterizing your car should be done when daytime temperatures average around 7 degrees Celsius. Usually around mid-October.
In Canada, only tires that display the snowflake in a mountain symbol are rated for winter.
Drive according to the road and visibility conditions:
- When road conditions are poor, leave earlier to avoid being in a rush.
- Drive with the flow of traffic. If everybody is going 50 in a 60 zone, do 50 too.
- Plan your braking applications sooner rather than later. It can sometimes take 8 times longer to come to a stop when driving on ice.
- Give yourself more of a space cushion around your vehicle. Increase your following distance, stagger your turns and avoid driving side by side with other vehicles.
- Watch out for shiny spots on the road, it’s icy! Intersections, bridge decks and shaded areas are likely to be more slippery.
- Do not overdrive your headlights. If it’s snowing heavily or very foggy, you don’t want to drive any faster than your ability to stop within your visual range.
- If visibility falls under 150 meters (about one and half football/soccer field) turn on your headlights. By doing so your taillights will turn on too, making you more visible to other drivers behind you.
- Do things more gradually. Avoid making abrupt lane changes, taking turns too quickly, and accelerating or braking too hard. Doing these things might cause you to lose control of the car.
- Avoid using cruise control if the road conditions are slippery.
- If you lose control, DON’T PANIC! If you start skidding, DO NOT HIT THE BRAKES. Ease off the accelerator, look towards the direction the car needs to go and steer in that direction. Once you regain control of where the car is going, either brake and stop or continue driving.
Keep an emergency kit and supplies in your vehicle:
- Bring warm clothing and footwear in case you’re stuck.
- Have traction aids, such as store bought one, kitty litter or sand to help get going. A shovel wouldn’t hurt either.
- Your emergency kit should include a first aid kit, tea light candles, flashlight, reflective vest and booster cables. Also don’t forget things like cell phone and charger, cash and snacks and water if going on a long trip.
Other great things to know about winter driving:
- If you’re going out of town, let people know your route, when you will be reaching your destination and keep them informed of any changes.
- If the weather is really bad… DON’T GO!
- If it’s extremely cold avoid driving if you can. It’s not uncommon for vehicles to experience break down in extreme temperatures.
- If the temperature dips below –17 Celsius plug in your car if parked for an extended period.
Lastly, if you’re a new driver or new to our winter climate, consider taking driving lessons with us. As we like to say “Do you want to learn the hard way as you’re sliding through an intersection or do you want to learn under controlled conditions”