Depending on what province you’re living in, winters in Canada can feel like they last a lifetime. Between blizzards, freezing rain, black ice and slush, being organized can save you from getting into dangerous situations this winter. Here are 9 ways you can make sure to stay safe and have peace of mind when hitting the road.
1. Put your winter tires on early
For most provinces in Canada, you can never be too early at making the swap to winter tires. The first winter storm of the season often hits sooner than predicted, don’t be caught off guard.
2. Get your car tuned in the fall
Before entering the harshest season of the year, take your car in for a maintenance check-up.
3. Prepare your windshield washer system
With decreased visibility in the winter, be prepared by checking the current condition of your wiper blades and replacing them if they appear to be worn down. Also consider purchasing an anti-icing washer fluid that can withstand the cooler temperatures.
4. Ditch the summer mats in your car
Switching to winter mats protects your summer mats from calcium stains and also helps protect against moisture and humidity.
5. Snow and ice removal tools
Snow brushes and ice scrapers come in a variety of different sizes and price points. Rather than opting for the cheapest version, consider investing in a higher-quality scraper and brush that could benefit you for years to come.
6. Wash your car regularly
Washing your car during the cooler months helps to prevent from salt stains and to rid your car windows from buildup.
7. Fill up your gas tank before embarking on a trip outside of the city
Keeping your gas tank at least half-full at all times during winter is a good standard to have. When gas levels are low, you run the risk of condensation building up in the tank, causing fuel lines to freeze when the temperature gets cold.
8. Always keep a ‘survival kit’ in your car
Canada is no stranger to highway closures in the winter, which can leave you stranded on the side of the road for hours. Be prepared ahead of time by keeping these items handy:
- booster/jumper cables
- a tow rope or chain
- a shovel
- a first aid kit
- a microfiber cloth (use it for cleaning the inside of your windows)
- road maps
- a flashlight
- a portable phone charger/battery pack
- blankets and warm clothing
- non-perishable food (ie. granola bars)
9. Adapt your driving for winter conditions
Finally, remember to adapt to the conditions at hand; check the weather ahead of time so you know what to expect before you hit the road. Slowing down, braking sooner and keeping a safe distance are also good habits to have. It is also essential to take the extra time to defrost your car properly before you start driving.
READ MORE: Winter Readiness: Prevent Burst Pipes
READ MORE: Snow Removal Tips
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