It’s that time of the year when festivities and frost, Santa and snow are in the air. And while it all appears enchanting in a children’s storybook, those of us who have to brave these weather conditions and drive from one place to another know it’s not all stress-free. Choosing to stay indoors throughout the winters can be inconvenient, and let’s accept it, not possible for many of us. So, rather than shying away from the situation at hand, consider spending some time preparing yourself and your car for the first snow of the season.
1) First and foremost, get your winter emergency kit in place. This could be one big bag or a few smaller stashes of items that can save your butt in case of emergency. For instance, to clear snow, slush and ice from your vehicle, you should have a snowbrush, ice scraper, and extra windshield fluid in your car. For situations where you may be stuck road-side without help, try packing jumper cables, a handheld shovel, sand or salt, tire chains and LED roadside flares. God forbid if you are trapped in the snow and need to spend the night in the car, you will want items for that too. Have a kit that stores hand warmers, blankets, a jacket or a warm shawl and a pair of gloves with hats. Finally, keep a kit that has essential items like a first-aid box, swiss army knife, phone chargers, whistle, energy bars and dried food and water.
2) Pay attention to your tires and prepare them for snow. Installing winter tires in Canada is not only advisable but mandatory in some provinces. The fact is that they will be your best friends when it comes to braving the roads in slippery conditions, so we can’t recommend them highly enough. Additionally, you will be doing yourself a favour if you keep an eye on the tire pressure, as low tire pressures are expected during the winter season. The fluctuation in the air pressure can result in reduced performance and significant wear and tear but, more importantly, can also lead to blowouts and cause a crash.
3) Get new wiper blades as they are critical for visibility. It’s no secret that with time wiper blades lose their efficacy. Most drivers overestimate the longevity of these wiper blades and do not pay attention if their power is decreasing. The best test for your blades is if you find streak marks on the windshield after every swipe, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to get new ones. Moreover, it’s better to use an ice scraper or de-icer under icy and snowy conditions to take the ice or snow off the windshield. Using wiper blades directly on the snow or ice can damage their effectiveness. And don’t forget to fold your wipers out just in case you have to park your car outdoors, it saves them from being frozen and stuck to the windshield overnight.
4) Last but not least, invest in a driving course that can help you drive with confidence, especially during the winter season. If you are new to the weather conditions of an area and haven’t driven in those areas before, you can enrol yourself in an online driving course that can help you brush up your skills. This type of course aims to help you identify unsafe conditions while driving. Additionally, it informs you of different situations to expect when driving in severe weather conditions. But that’s not all: it will also teach you how to control a skid, and how to brake and turn on slippery roads without incident. So, if you are new to winter conditions in your area, or simply a new driver altogether, enrolling in a course on winter driving can play a critical role in ensuring your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
Preparing your car and yourself for the winter ahead is crucial in saving yourself from dangerous incidents in the snowy months. There’s no point in being sorry when you can be smart and safe ahead of time.
For more safety tips, explore our driving programs at Fleet Safety International. Our courses help new drivers, commuters, corporate and commercial drivers learn the SAFER™ System of defensive driving. For a defensive driving course or to register for in-vehicle training at our driving school in Calgary, get in touch with us today!