Travelling during the winter months can present some significant challenges. Ice and snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and freezing temperatures can make driving difficult and even dangerous. With the holidays here, and many Canadians embarking on road trips to meet with family and friends, we would like to encourage travellers to drive with care. Here are some tips for making your winter drive as safe as possible:
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Know where you are going and what roads you are using before you head out. This will prevent you from struggling with maps or GPS while on the road. As much as possible, plan your route so that it uses main highways – they may not be faster, but they will be properly cleared and maintained.
Before you leave, check the road reports and make adjustments to your route as necessary. Leave a copy of your intended route with a friend or family member and call ahead to your destination with an approximate time of arrival.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
Transport Canada states that you should always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic kit should contain the following:
- Food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars,
- Water – plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes (replace them every six months),
- Extra clothing (including warm hats) and shoes or boots,
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter (or box cutter),
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush,
- Matches and several “survival” candles in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink, or use as an emergency light,
- Wind-up flashlight,
- Whistle – in case you need to attract attention, and
In addition to an emergency car kit, Transport Canada recommends that you keep the following items in your trunk:
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping),
- Antifreeze and extra windshield washer fluid,
- Tow chain,
- Booster cables,
- Fire extinguisher
- Reflective vest, and
- Warning light or road flares.
Have a wonderful holiday season and drive safe!