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)
- 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
- 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
Print or download the Emergency car kit checklist. Check off the items for your car emergency kit as you accumulate them.
Learn more about road safety and winter driving by visiting: Transport Canada
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