Winter Driving in Canada: Four Smart Tips to Follow
If there’s one thing we know in Canada, it’s how to deal with winter. But no matter how much experience you have with Canadian winters, it can always be challenging to transition from summer to winter driving.
At Oegema Nicholson, we aren’t just Ottawa car insurance brokers; we live here too! We know what it’s like to have to navigate the cold, icy roads and still get where you’re going safely. While more of us are working at home these days, we still need to get out to buy groceries and maybe hit the ski slopes.
We’re here to give you some great tips on making sure that you and your car are ready for winter driving in Ottawa.
- Have a maintenance check-up done on your car.
- Get your winter tires.
- Put together a safety kit for your car.
- Make a plan on how to drive safely.
Get a Maintenance Check-Up On Your Car
One of the best ways you can ready for winter is to make sure that your car is in good shape. Book an appointment to have all of the following checked or topped up:
- Windshield washer fluid
- Oil change
In addition to all of this, it’s essential to check your windshield wipers. If you have to drive in a storm, the last thing you want is to have windshield wipers that don’t work very well. Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good shape and replace them if necessary.
Have Your Snow Tires Installed
Snow tires are essential for making sure you can drive safely in the winter. Even if you only drive in the city, there’s no guarantee that roads will always be salted or plowed when you need to use them. Having snow tires on your car helps make sure you can drive safely, no matter the weather.
Another benefit of having snow tires on your car is that it can save you money on your car insurance. As Ottawa car insurance brokers, we can tell you which insurance companies will offer you a discount if you have snow tires and how much you will save. Snow tires are also mandatory in Quebec, so if you plan to travel to Quebec at all, it’s a good idea to have them on your car or truck.
Once your snow tires are on, you must remember to check your tire air pressure frequently. During cold weather, it will decrease more than it does in warm weather.
Put Together An Emergency Kit For Your Car
Another way to ensure that you stay safe while driving in Canadian winters is to have an emergency kit prepared. This way, if you do break down or are stranded somewhere, you will have everything you need.
Here are some of the things you should have in your car in case you get stranded:
- A warm, bright blanket. The blanket can help you be spotted by a tow truck or police if it’s a snowy night with low visibility.
- Extra mitts and hats. You may have something lightweight for driving in, but if you’re going to be stuck out in the cold, you’ll want something more heavy-duty.
- Jumper cables and extra windshield washer fluid.
- A flashlight.
- Lock de-icer.
- A lightweight snow shovel.
- Traction mats or kitty litter to help you get out of ditches if you spin out.
If you don’t feel like putting together a kit, you can always buy one from a hardware store or automobile association. And of course, you still need a good quality snow brush and scraper. It never hurts to have an extra in case yours breaks, or you have a passenger willing to help clean off your car!
Make A Plan On How to Drive Safely
We’ve all been driving a lot less these days, which may mean that we’re less prepared for winter driving than usual. Take a little time to think about what you may encounter over the winter and how you can prepare for it. Here are our best winter driving tips:
- Give yourself more time. If you need to get somewhere over the winter — for example, dropping your kids off at school — give yourself more time than you have been in the fall.
- Give people space. If you have to brake suddenly, and it’s icy — you could slide off the road or into the vehicle in front of you. Giving yourself extra space behind someone means you have time to stop safely.
- Remember that turning a corner is different in the winter than it is in nicer weather. It’s important not to brake suddenly or start accelerating when you turn a corner – you could end up sliding quite rapidly.
You’re Ready for Winter!
Now you know how to make sure that you’re ready for winter driving in Ottawa. You can do all of the following to help make sure that you’re ready:
- Get your car checked out and all the fluids topped up.
- Get your winter tires installed.
- Put together or buy a winter safety kit for your car.
- Brush up on your winter driving skills.