Winter Driving Checklist
October 30th, 2014
Be prepared – Driver’s Checklist
- Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up. Don’t wait for winter to have your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers, and ignition system checked.
- The condition of your vehicle’s tires is important. Worn and damaged tires can hamper your ability to drive safely. Have them checked or replaced before winter begins. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in colder weather.
- Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Don’t take chances if the weather is bad. Allow yourself extra time for travel, or wait until conditions improve.
- If you are traveling a long distance, plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival.
- Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement while at the wheel. Keep warm clothing for getting out of your vehicle.
- Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, and the roof. After starting your vehicle, wait for the fog to clear from the interior of the windows so you will have good visibility all around.
- Keep your gas tank sufficiently full – at least a half of a tank is recommended.
- Make sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and that it is rated in the -40⁰C temperature range. Keep an extra jug in the vehicle.
- If you are in an area with cell phone service and have a cell phone, use it only when necessary. When you need help, pull well off of the road to make or receive a call.
Driving and Winter – Stay alert, slow down and stay in control – the three key elements to safe winter driving. Drive according to current road and weather conditions. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly on a slippery surface.
Winter Driving Survival Kit – It’s a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded.
- Chains/snow tires (depending on your location)
- Ice scraper/snowbrush
- Small tool kit
- Sand or other traction aid (in mud or snow)
- Tow rope or chain
- Booster cables
- Road flares/warning lights/reflectors
- Windshield washer fluid
- Flashlight and batteries
- First aid kit
- Fire Extinguisher
- Small tool kit
- Extra clothing and footwear; raingear/overcoats
- Non-perishable energy foods - e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, instant coffee, tea, soup, bottled water
- Candle and a small tin can
- Matches (in water tight container)
- Cell phone and charger
- Portable Radio and batteries
The Unexpected – If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth. Wait for help to arrive. If you are in an area with cell phone service and have a cell phone, call for help.
Be careful if you have to get out of your vehicle when on the shoulder of a busy road. If possible, use the door away from traffic.
If you attempt to free your vehicle from the snow, be careful. Dress warmly, shovel slowly and do not overexert yourself. Do not attempt to shovel or push your vehicle if you have a medical condition. Body heat is retained when clothing is kept dry. Wet clothing, due to the weather or perspiration, can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat.
To draw attention to your vehicle and to avoid collision by passing traffic, use emergency flashers, reflectors, flares or a Call Police sign.
Run your motor sparingly. Be careful of exhaust fumes. For fresh air, slightly open a window away from the wind. You may have to exit your vehicle occasionally to make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of drifting snow before running the engine.
In blizzard conditions, especially overnight, make sure one person stays awake, because help could take some time to arrive. Maintain circulation by moving your feet, hands, and arms.
In rainy conditions, do not try to cross roads that have water running over them.