Road safety is always important, but it becomes crucial when winter takes effect. Snow, icy roads and unpredictable weather are all common hazards that plague drivers during the colder months. Keep calm, confident and safe on the roads this winter by following these tips:
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Tune up your car and notify your mechanic ofany existing vehicle issues.
- Check brakes before large snowfalls.
- Inspect tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have enough tread. Keep a spare tire on hand in case of emergency.
- Change oil and filter as recommended. Consider changing to "winter weight" oil if you live in a cold climate.
- Test your vehicle's battery, heaters, defroster and wipers—especially before long trips.
- Top up your wiper fluid, preferably rated for -30 degrees Celsius.
- Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system.
- Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks.
- Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and that headlights are properly aimed.
- Keep Police/OPP numbers handy.
- Travel with a fully-charged cellphone.
- Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads.
- Figure out the best way to recover from a skid for your vehicle. How your vehicle responds to a skid depends on whether or not it has rear wheel, front wheel or four wheel drive. Check your manual and find out if your vehicle has safety assist technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).
Driving in Bad Weather
- Whenever possible, stay off the roads and avoid driving in bad weather.
- Clear vehicle of all snow and ice before driving.
- Slow down and always keep a generous distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
- Accelerate gradually to avoid skidding across icy roads and beware of black ice.
- Focus on the road and always be aware of other cars around you.
- Extreme caution if you need to pass a snowplow. Not only is it dangerous, but the road behind it will be more suitable for driving.
- If you get stuck or stranded on a road in bad weather, remember these three things: remain calm, stay with your vehicle and call for help.
- Ensure you have a full tank of gas as well as windshield washer fluid.
Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies
- Traction mats
- Extra clothing
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Water and non-perishable snacks
- Ice scraper
- Booster cables
- Spare tire
- Extra fuel
- Spare battery
- Snow shovel