We have already seen a lot of snow and cold weather and this Winter is expected to be snowier than usual. Winter is always an unsafe time to be driving but with more snow in the forecast, taking extra precaution is even more important. Here are 10 safety tips to remember while driving your car this winter.
Drive according to the conditions of the road
Winter driving is especially more difficult due to harsh weather that can impede your visibility and/or the road conditions. Follow Environment Canada on Twitter for official weather alerts: @ECAlertON118.
Tune up your car
Low temperatures can negatively affect many of your car’s parts, especially the fluids, so it’s important to have the following items checked: battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze, oil, lights, exhaust system, heater/defroster, ignition system, and tires.
Check wipers regularly and carry extra washer fluid in the vehicle
Having wipers designed for winter can help ensure you will have a clear windshield even in heavy snowfall.
Check tires and tire pressure at least once a month during the colder months
or effective handling and traction, maintain proper tire pressure. The air in your tire compresses in colder weather which will decrease your tire pressure. Experts recommend you should always inflate your tires to the recommended pressure when tires are cold.
Install winter tires on all four wheels
Winter tires provide superior handling in colder weather. At temperatures 7 degrees and colder, winter tires perform better than summer tires. Winter tires use a much softer tread compound to ensure optimal traction. All insurance companies in Ontario offer a winter tire discount when four winter tires are installed prior to a pre-determined date (most commonly, November 1).
If you have already notified your Scrivens broker that you install winter tires, the discount remains on your policy from year-to-year.
Keep the gas tank topped up
As previously mentioned, keeping your fluids in check is important in colder months. While the gas itself may not freeze, the compound may begin to separate, condensation can build up and freeze, the fuel pump will work harder, etc. It is recommended to keep your fuel level above 50 per cent during the winter months.
Equip your car with an emergency kit
Make sure your car’s emergency kit includes items to keep you warm in case of a winter emergency. Items to include: ice scraper, sand/salt, booster cables, flares, extra anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid, blanket, mitts, hats, instant heat packs.
Tell someone where you are going and when you are expected to arrive
The more quickly someone can rescue you in an emergency, the more likely you will survive. Knowing where to look, will help rescuers locate you more quickly.
Bring a map or GPS and have an alternate route planned
Consider a paper map in case your devices lose power. The cold weather drains batteries more quickly so your phone may not last as long as you may think. And yes, they still make paper maps!
Bring a charged cell phone
Having a spare prepaid cell phone that you keep turned off and fully charged can also be helpful in emergencies.
EXTRA TIP: If your car gets stuck in snow or slush, use your car’s floor mats under the tires to gain traction