Winter Driving Safety Tips: 5 Point Checklist

winter driving safety tips
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel

by Benjamin Yong

To avoid being stuck out in the cold and on the side of the road, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the upcoming frigid conditions beforehand. We ask industry experts to share five top tips on getting your vehicle winter ready now.

1. Tires For Winter

The single most crucial safety factor is the condition of your tires. Winter tires are recommended for the season, identifiable by a symbol on the sidewall that looks like a snowflake inside a mountain. The problem with commonly-run all season tires is that they start to lose traction and flexibility as the temperature dips down to 7 C, which is when winter rubber performs at its best.

2. Check Those Fluids

Something overlooked quite often is fluid levels. Antifreeze, engine and transmission oil and power steering and windshield washer fluid should all be inspected. The only protection your car’s engine has against cold and freezing is the antifreeze, therefore it is very important to follow the recommendations laid out in the owner’s manual. Remember to always let the radiator cool down before working on it.

3. Lights

Ensure all exterior lights are functioning. Proper operation of the headlights will signal to pedestrians and other vehicles on the road that you are approaching them, and will also assist you in seeing where you are going. Brake lights alert drivers behind you that you are stopping, and turn signals are self-explanatory but are also responsible for acting as your hazard lights in emergencies.

4. Safety Kit A Good Idea

Travel with a roadside safety kit: it should contain a flashlight, new batteries, gloves, dry food, bottled water, road flares and emergency markers. Other good items to have on hand are rain boots, a thick, waterproof jacket and a small blanket that will all come in handy during a breakdown.

5. Working Wiper Blades

Finally, check your windshield wiper blades. We tend to forget about these until we need them — the blades should replaced once in the winter and again in the spring.

Here’s a handy checklist to keep in mind:

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