Snow. Slush. Sleet. Expect to face all that and more, as you navigate frosty winter roads. Whether you’re a veteran of winter highway driving, or facing slick conditions for the first time, these winter driving essentials can stack the odds in your favour and help you reach your destination safely.
Winter driving tip #1 – Prepare your vehicle
- Install winter tires. In cold temperatures, winter tires provide up to 50% more traction than all-seasons and are well worth the investment.
- Carry an extra jug of windshield washer fluid (with de-icer in the -40 C range) and stay topped up for lengthy trips.
- Replace old wiper blades that leave streaks.
- Carry a scraper, a lightweight shovel and an emergency kit.
- Schedule a pre-winter tune-up to check that your battery, brakes and other essential systems are ready for winter highway driving.
Winter driving tip #2 – Plan your route
- Check weather and road conditions before you drive – for your current location, your destination and the route in between.
- Give yourself more time than usual in case conditions worsen.
- Choose main roads that are plowed and salted over less-travelled scenic routes.
- In extreme conditions, the safest course of action is to delay or postpone your trip.
Winter driving tip #3 – Adjust your technique
- When driving in the winter you should accelerate smoothy, maintain steady pressure on the gas pedal, and brake gently and early to avoid skids.
- See and be seen. Clear snow and ice from car windows and surfaces to give yourself, and those behind you, a clear view.
- Keep your headlights and taillights on, even during the day to increase your winter driving safety.
- Turn off cruise control, if it’s wet, icy or snowy. You won’t feel your wheels lose traction with your foot off the gas pedal.
- Above all, always adjust your speed to road conditions.
Now that you know more about how to prepare for winter driving, brush up on more tips to stay safe behind the wheel year round – and learn how to save a little cash at the same time.