10 tips for safe winter driving

If you’ve driven in even one Canadian winter, you know that it takes patience, practice and mindfulness to stay safe on slick roads.

Your safety is important to us. Keep these safe winter driving techniques top of mind – and share them with your family and friends.

1. Invest in winter tires.

Winter tires are worth the investment. Put them on before it snows, and before the temperature drops below 7°C. Also, ensure tires are inflated properly; cold weather can decrease tire pressure.

2. Plan ahead.

Plan for five extra minutes pre-trip to check road conditions and remove all snow and ice from your vehicle.

3. Slow down.

It’s common sense that’s often overlooked: adjust your speed according to road conditions.

4. Stock up on windshield washer fluid.

When you need it most – 50 km from home in a white-out blizzard – you'll be glad to have an extra jug.

5. Leave the lights on.

To increase visibility, keep your headlights on, even during the day. Not sure if you need them? Err on the side of caution.

6. Step lightly.

Maintain steady pressure on the gas pedal and brake gently to avoid slipping and sliding.

7. Exercise patience.

When you're running 10 minutes late and find yourself stuck behind a snowplow or salt truck, take a deep breath and do not pass.

8. Look twice before reversing.

Be aware of snow banks when backing up; not only could you hit one, but they make it hard to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

9. Avoid using cruise control.

Cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions isn't worth the risk.

10. Pack an emergency kit.

Include:

  • a bag of salt or non-clumping cat litter (for digging out)
  • a blanket
  • a flashlight
  • a shovel
  • an ice scraper/snow brush
  • jumper cables
  • matches
  • non-perishable food

Don’t forget to always drive distraction-free, especially during the winter.