Like it or not, it is time to get ready for old-man-winter. I just had winter tires put on my vehicle & feel safer already. Are you ready for winter driving? Use the checklist below to travel safe this winter.
Winter Driving Checklist
- Give your self extra time in the morning. Warm up your car. You don’t want to be in a hurry on icy roads. Let weather dictate traffic speed.
- Ensure proper visibility. Defrost your windshield & brush all the snow off your car before driving it. Always have extra windshield washer fluid in your car.
- With shorter daylight hours, fog & snow, use low light beams (you’ll see better & will be seen).
- Following too closely leads to many traffic collisions. On icy roads, leave extra/twice the room/space between vehicles. Slow down when approaching intersections.
- Use winter tires on icy winter roads. The braking distance of winter tires compared to all season tires can be up to 2 car lengths (depending on speed & conditions).
- If skidding on ice, don't pump your ABS brakes, don't step on the gas too hard and don't oversteer. Stay in control/don’t panic. Look in the direction that you want to go.
- Tire pressure is lost when the temperature drops. Check your tire pressure monthly to ensure optimal handling and even wear on your tires.
- Prevent frozen gas lines by keeping at least half a tank of gas in your car. Add gasline antifreeze.
- Check/change fluids. Your antifreeze level should be good for at least minus 35C. Lighter engine oil is also recommended in winter.
- Have your battery & alternator checked every fall; to ensure that your vehicle will start when the temperature drops.
- Be patient & only pass cars when it is safe to do so. Use the right lane if travelling slow.
- Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
- Don’t get caught in a storm. If going on a winter road trip, check weather/road conditions before driving. Delay your trip if the weather will be bad. Take a map in case an alternate route is needed. Consider getting off the road if travelling & the weather worsens. Let someone know where you are going & when you will be arriving.
- Always be prepared for the worst. Always bring a cell phone & winter survival kit in your car.
Winter Travel Survival Kit
- first aid kit
- snacks like granola bars or trail mix
- blanket or sleeping bag
- warm clothing (boots, hat, mitts)
- candles & lighter
- shovel, flares, jumper cables
- knife & basic tools (screw drivers/wrench)
- extra antifreeze, windshield washer fluid etc
- spare tire, tire jack
This survival kit is not just for long road rips. Your vehicle can break anywhere at anytime. It may happen on our coldest winter day. You will be happy that you have warm boots & clothing to put on.
If everyone would just slow down, allow extra time & extra space between cars, motor vehicle collisions, injuries & fatalities will be prevented. Be prepared for winter driving. Travel safe & arrive alive.