Winter Driving

Along with colder temperatures, snow, and ice, winter also brings potentially dangerous driving conditions.  Slippery roads and decreased visibility can make driving in Canadian winters a challenge. Get prepared by following a few simple tips, provided by Public Safety Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Automobile Association.

Slow down – Fog, black ice, slush or snow-covered roads can make driving dangerous. Drive slowly and leave plenty of distance between vehicles.

Get winter tires – Traction is the key to good movement, turning and stopping on wet, slushy or icy surfaces. Check tires and tire pressure at least once a month when tires are cold and remember that tire air pressure decreases in colder weather. Winter tires provide additional traction in colder weather.

Top-up windshield fluid – Fill up on winter washer fluid and replace wiper blades that streak. Make sure there is enough windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and that it is rated in the -40C temperature range. Carry an extra jug in the vehicle.

Keep the gas tank topped up – When driving in bad weather, think caution, plan ahead and make sure you have enough fuel. Keep the fuel tank at least half full.

See and be seen – clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all windows of fog or ice. If visibility becomes poor, find a place to safely pull off the road as soon as possible.

Get an emergency car kit – Have the appropriate safety and emergency winter equipment always stored in your car. The basic emergency kit for cars should include the following items:

  • Food – that won’t spoil, such as energy bars
  • Water – in plastic bottles so they won’t break if frozen (change every six months)
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • First aid kit – with seatbelt cutter
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Crank flashlight
  • Whistle – in case you need to attract attention
  • Roadmaps
  • Copy of your emergency plan

Also keep these inside your trunk:

  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non clumping)
  • Antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning light or road flares