We all know that winter driving can be rough, but here are a few winter driving preparation tips that can reduce the stress.
- Install winter tires
Installing four high quality winter tires will improve driving safety by providing better traction in snow, slush and icy conditions. Be sure to have them installed on their own set of steel rims and have the balance alignment and tire pressure checked.
- Maintenance check up
Preventative maintenance is key and this time of year there are lots of seasonal specials. Make sure your battery, brakes, lights / fuses, cooling / heating systems, electrical / exhaust systems, as well as your belts and hoses are in good shape—especially if you have an older car.
- Top up all fluids
Check oil, transmission, antifreeze, brake and windshield washer fluids.
- Install winter wiper blades
They are heavier and push snow and ice more easily.
- Clear snow/ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, hood and the roof
After starting your vehicle, wait for the windows to defrost completely to allow clear visibility all around.
- Fully charged cell phone
This way you can call a friend or roadside assistance if you need to. A car charger for the phone is a smart device to have on hand. Cell phone batteries can freeze in very cold weather.
- Be prepared by packing a winter survival kit
Recommended items include:
- First aid kit with a seat belt cutter
- Windshield scraper and snow brush
- Extra windshield washer fluid (appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures)
- Spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
- Shovel and traction mat, sand, salt or kitty litter
- Fuel line deicer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)
- Flares o warning light
- Waterproof matches or lighter
- Winter gloves, toque and boots
- Flashlight and batteries
- Battery jumper cables
- Blanket and extra clothing
- Non-perishable snacks for energy (ex. Energy bars), water in bottles that won’t crack or break in cold weather (replace every 6 months)
- Keep your gas tank topped up
This will prevent you from running out of gas and being stranded. It also helps avoid condensation and moist air inside the tank, which can cause fuel lines to freeze and other serious issues.