Oh no! Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, saw his shadow, forecasting another six weeks of winter!

When it comes to driving in winter, ensuring your car is prepared for winter weather  is crucial to protecting yourself while behind the wheel.  Here are our recommendations for driving safely in cold weather:

1. Keep your car serviced regularly.

Regular servicing will keep your car running efficiently and safely and avoid the chance of breakdowns in winter months.  Changing the oil is one of the best ways to care for your car!

2. Maintain a full tank of gas.

This may seem obvious, but you don’t want to run out of gas if caught in an unexpected traffic jam or snowstorm.  Similarly, make sure your electric vehicle is at least 80% or fully charged before heading out.  Driving range for EVs can be reduced in cold weather.

3. Check your tires.

It’s important to regularly check your tire pressure and tread since both can reduce traction when driving in ice or snow. Winter tires provide improved traction and braking performance on road surfaces measuring below 7C (45F). The stopping distance on snow packed roads is 35% shorter than all-season tires.  

4. Keep the car clean.

Wipe down headlights and taillights.  Winter grime can reduce visibility by 50%. You want to see as far as possible ahead, and other drivers to see you. The windscreen and wipers should be kept clean and any worn blades replaced to prevent streaking. Washer fluid should be filled up, as well as engine coolant topped up with antifreeze.

5. Drive with caution.

Slow down and give plenty of distance between you and the car in front and to the side.  4WD and AWD vehicles can help with driving in icy or snowy conditions but should not be relied upon, especially when braking.  Tires lose their grip more easily in slippery conditions.  Avoid using cruise control, too, as you want to have as much control over your car as possible. Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy.

6. Put together an emergency kit.

Carry items and supplies you might need in an emergency: a snow shovel and ice scraper; sand (in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow), tire repair kit, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets, and non-perishable food items.  Also include a back up battery for your cell phone. If you’ve ever changed a tire in subzero temperatures, you’ll know how quickly your hands get numb from working.  Frostbite is a serious risk, so make sure you have gloves and a hat, as well as winter boots and jacket.  

These are just a few of the many things you can do to ensure that you are prepared for winter driving.  Driving in winter weather can be challenging, even for experienced drivers, so don’t let yourself get into risky situations.  Stay informed about road conditions and watch for weather updates.


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