Winter Driving Tips
Driving in snow, ice, or slush can be challenging even for experienced drivers. When road conditions are dangerous, consider postponing your trip until the weather improves.
Following these tips can help prepare you and your vehicle for winter driving:
- Get Your Vehicle Ready
Stay up to date with vehicle maintenance. Winter tires are strongly recommended to help provide better performance in winter conditions and to improve safety on the road. Get your car battery and electrical systems checked, check and top up fluids if needed, and upgrade to synthetic oil. It's essential to replace damaged or worn wiper blades to ensure clear down road visibility.
Learn more on how to winterize your vehicle on our blog.
- Plan Your Trip Ahead Of Time
Always look at weather conditions before heading out. For local weather reports, check 511, a free traveler information service that can be accessed by phone, mobile device, or computer. The service is operated by the government and available across Canadian provinces. It provides information on road conditions, delays or detours resulting from roadwork, major incidents, the availability of ferry services, and information for neighboring provincial and state road reporting agencies.
- Aside from having Roadside Assistance, it is recommended that the following items are kept in your vehicle in the event of a possible emergency:
- Ice scraper/snow brush
- Jump starter & external battery
- Compact car shovel
- Cat litter
- Blanket and winter clothing like mittens, socks, and hats.
- Non-perishable snacks & water
Are you wondering why cat litter is on the list? Read more recommendations on our blog 7 Things To Keep In Your Car For Winter.
- Good driving habits become extremely important when driving on snow and ice-covered roads:
- Drive slowly and smoothly
Most collisions happen because the driver is going too fast. Don't hard brake, make abrupt turns, or quickly accelerate, as this may cause your vehicle to skid.
- Learn how to handle a skid
If the wheels start to slide out of control on a slippery road, ease off the gas, release the brakes and gently steer in the direction you want to go.
- Avoid cruise control
Using cruise control on snowy, icy, or wet road may reduce your reaction time and the ability to control your vehicle.
- Don't tailgate
Always keep extra room between you and other vehicles since it takes longer to stop in slippery conditions.
- Beware of black ice
Black ice is hard to notice and very slippery, which makes it highly dangerous. Slow down and stay alert.
- Be cautious around snowplows
Keep a safe distance with snowplows and other winter maintenance vehicles. It's dangerous to pass a working snowplow and may result in a severe collision due to reduced visibility of blowing snow. Stay back and be patient.
- Keep full headlights on
Keep full lights on all the time to increase visibility.
- Keep your phone fully charged
Make sure you have a cellphone charger in your car in case the phone battery runs low. Remember, if you're ever stuck on the side of the road, Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance® is there to help. For assistance, dial #TOW or call 1-888-727-7478. Even if you are not a current member, we won't leave you stranded.