Try as we might to forget it, calendars don’t lie, and winter is just around the corner. My advice is to face the cold harsh reality and prepare now before the snow starts to fly. Oops, too late! Driving in winter is challenging on the best of days, but it also has the potential to be dangerous and life-threatening. Take these 3 precautionary steps and make this the winter you took control of your vehicle and not the weather.
1. Install matching winter tires at all four corners of your vehicle. Winter tires are specially formulated to outperform all-season rubber as soon as the temperature dips below 7°C. Take advantage of their cold weather capabilities and be sure to check tire pressure at least once a month. While driving, remember to always maintain a safe distance between you and the other vehicles on the road; they may not be as prepared as you are.
2. Pack a winter driving emergency kit and keep it in the rear storage compartment of your vehicle. In the unlikely event something happens, and your vehicle breaks down leaving you stranded on the side of the road, these supplies will be close at hand.
Here is a list of the basic items you should include: battery cables, first-aid kit, collapsible shovel, basic tool kit, sleeping bags and blankets, extra winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, bag of sand, candles and matches, flares and an extra power source. Make sure to always keep your smartphone charged as cold weather can adversely affect battery life.
3. If you become stranded in your vehicle during a winter storm, stay calm and remain inside. Call for help with your smartphone, stay warm with blankets and additional winter clothing, keep your lights on to remain visible and remember to run the engine and heat the vehicle sparingly to save fuel and battery power. It is rarely a good idea to leave your vehicle at the side of the road and strike out on your own for assistance. Be prepared and wait for help to arrive.
Above all, enjoy winter. It’s here to stay for at least the next five months, so embrace it!