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8 tips for Canadian winter driving

Driving in Canadian winter takes patience and practice to stay safe on slick and icy roads. Keep these safe winter driving techniques in mind – and share them with family and friends.

1. Invest in winter tires

Winter tires are worth the investment. Put them on before it snows, and before the temperature drops below 7°C. Also, ensure your tires are inflated properly; cold weather can decrease tire pressure.

In Quebec, it’s mandatory for passenger vehicles to have four winter tires installed from Dec. 15 to March 15.

2. Plan ahead

Take five minutes to check road conditions before you get behind the wheel. Weather and traffic updates are readily available online and on the radio.

3. Slow down

Adjust your speed to road conditions. Also avoid accelerating too quickly, maintain steady pressure on the gas pedal, and brake gently and early to avoid sliding.

4. Stock up on windshield washer fluid.

When you need it most – 50 km from home in a white-out blizzard – you'll be glad to have an extra jug.

5. Increase visibility

Keep your headlights on, even during the day, and remove all snow and ice from your vehicle.

6. Look twice before reversing

Be aware of snow banks when backing up. They make it hard to spot oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

7. Avoid using cruise control

Cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions isn't worth the risk.

8. Pack an emergency kit.


  • a bag of salt or non-clumping cat litter (for digging out)
  • a blanket
  • a flashlight
  • a shovel
  • an ice scraper/snow brush
  • jumper cables
  • matches
  • non-perishable food

Additional resources to stay safe on the road