To help you get where you’re going this winter season, we’ve compiled some of the top tips for safe seasonal driving.
Before you leave:
1. Make a winter safety kit
Before you head out on those snow covered streets and highways, pack a winter safety kit and keep it in your trunk, so that if you’re ever in an emergency, you have the tools you need.
Pack your kit with:
Extra windshield wiper fluid
First aid kit
Snow brush with scraper
Cell phone charger that connects to your vehicle
2. Get (or put on) winter tires
Although only legally mandatory in Quebec, it’s a smart idea to put winter tires on your vehicle. Even if you have all-season tires, they are not the same as winter tires. The traction, handling, and braking can be seriously compromised. As a general rule, winter tires become necessary when the temperature drops to 7 °C.
3. Check weather and plan ahead
Choose the route you'll take ahead of time and check the weather forecast to make sure you know what to expect before you hit the road. Try to leave early before it gets dark and give yourself extra travel time so you’ll stay stress-free.
4. Dress in layers
It may be cold when you get into your vehicle, but usually in a matter of minutes, your heaters will be full blast and you may feel like you’re in a travelling sauna. It’s a good idea to dress in layers. Removing restricting layers will also make easier to check your blind spots. And, if you do have any problems on the road, you’ll be able to layer back up and keep warm.
5. Tidy up
Clear snow and ice from your vehicle before you hit the road. Make sure you clean all windows, mirrors, lights, licence plates, and don’t the roof. Before shifting into gear, make sure all your windows have defogged.
On the road:
1. Keep a safe distance
It’s often more difficult to stop in winter weather, so keeping a safe distance behind vehicles will help you avoid rear-ending someone. It’s especially important to keep your distance behind snowplows and transport trucks as their tires throw up snow and slush that can compromise your visibility.
2. Skip the cruise control
Cruise control is great when driving conditions are normal, but it’s easier to lose control of your vehicle when the weather is bad and the roads are slippery.
3. Drive responsibly
If you’re heading out to a party, plan a way home ahead of time if you’re planning to have some drinks. Assign a designated driver, or book a cab (this will ensure you don’t get stuck at someone’s house waiting for a cab until the wee hours of the morning).