We all wish summer would last forever, especially in provinces where the temperature drops below zero and we face heavy snowfall for several months out of the year. If you have lived in Quebec, you know what it is to have to battle the snow on the roads.
Here are 5 tips to help keep you safe and prepared for winter driving & a VIDEO Quiz.
1. Don’t get left out in the cold! Check your roadside assistance plan.
Most new vehicles now come with roadside assistance included in the new vehicle purchase. Sometimes the roadside assistance can last years, and is easily something we take for granted as new vehicle owners. However, in some cases it expires based on the use of the car, meaning the number of kilometers – this could reduce your automatic coverage or make it expire long before you realize.
So the first step to ensuring you have a safe winter season is to prepare for emergencies by contacting your roadside assistance provider and making sure your coverage is in place.
If it is not, Aviva Canada and Intact insurance both offer special deals with their insurance policies for roadside assistance.
CAA also has alliances with some insurance companies which can get you the coverage for free (for new clients) and offer a discount on insurance for others.
So make sure you are covered so that if you get stranded on the side of the road, you’ll have help and spend as little time as possible out in the cold.
2. Winter Tires – Why are they important?
According to Transports Quebec a study in 2005 showed that 38% of accidents that occurred on the road involved at least one vehicle with all season tires, vs. winter tires. Therefore since 2008, in Quebec, it is a law to equip your vehicle with Winter tires from December 15th to March 15th – the winter driving season. Want more info on Winter Tires? Check out this post where I cover all the details.
3. Avoid Gas-Line Freeze up - Keep your Gas tank At Least Half Full.
According to CAA, keeping your gas tank at least half full reduces condensation that can cause gas line freeze up. Besides preventing this inconvenient situation, it also assures you always have enough gas to get where you are going and once again, you’ll never get stuck in the cold. During the winter driving season it is not unusual to get stuck in traffic for hours, or use extra gas to get out of a snow bank – stay prepared.
4. Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit & Get Winter Tools for Your Car
Keep a roadside emergency kit in the car so that if you do run into trouble you are prepared. Some items to include:
• A Bag of sand – incase you get stuck in the snow
• Shovel and Windshield Scraper
• Extra Windshield washer fluid that is made for below zero temperatures
• A Blanket
• A Flashlight or flashing light, Matches, Batteries for the flashlight, A First Aid Kit, A Cell Phone Charger
Note that some stores sell some great emergency roadside kits that even include items that can fill your tires with air, or have flashing lights to use if you’re stalled. It’s always a good idea to check the options at your local supply stores.
5. Vehicle Maintenance Winter Checklist - Keep Your Car Running In Winter!
The following items should be verified because their functioning will directly affect your ability to drive in wintery conditions.
- Windshield - Snall cracks or nicks in the windshield can often spread or get worse in the cold weather.
Did you know some insurance companies will repair your glass for free if there is a small chip or crack in it?
If you have a small nick or chip in the glass or a hair line crack, call your insurance to see if they offer this special coverage on your policy- you may be surprisd to find out they will take care of it for you with no deductible or consequence if it is your first incident!
- Winter wipe blades & Windshield fluid - make sure they are winter ready - a clear windshield will help you significantly when weather conditions are bad
- Vehicle lights - make sure they are all working properly
- Tread on tires
- Check the battery
- Check your antifreeze level
- Also verify critical winter car functions like the thermostat, heater, brakes and defroster.
Best Driving Practices in Winter to Stay Safe : Video QUIZ
Think you’re ready for safe winter driving, check out this awesome video for a True or False Quiz!
That's my list, what are your best tips for winter driving safety?