Top 3 winter driving tips

Cars driving in a city on a snowy day in Canada.

Driving  by Elmuzzerino.  CC0

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Is it your first time to drive in the snow? Driving in the winter can have many challenges and dangers if you are not prepared for them. In Manitoba, you will be driving in winter for five months (or more) in the year. Here are tips to follow before and during the winter months:

Prepare

  1. Get your car ready
    • Start early. Get ready before the first snow fall. You will also be able to avoid long lines for tires or maintenance check-ups if you do it in the fall.
    • Clean the inside of your car. Vacuum the carpets, dust off the dashboard, clean out your trunk. This will make space for winter accessories or tools. Replace your floor mats.
    • Get your car waxed to protect the exterior.
    • Get a maintenance check. Check your car battery, brakes, windshield wipers, lights, and tires.
  2. Plan your driving
    • Check the weather and road conditions along your route before leaving the house. Make this a habit. Listen to the radio or check online.
    • Leave the house earlier than your usual time in summer and fall. Remember, you have to drive slower.
    • Watch out for extreme weather warnings.
    • Warm your car before driving. But never in a closed garage. Warming up reduces moisture condensing on the inside of the windows.
    • Make sure that you are properly dressed for the weather. This includes having a pair of shades or sunglasses to deflect brightness.

Prepare a winter driving kit

Gather tools, spare clothes and food for any emergencies and keep them in your trunk.

Your winter driving kit

  • Extra warm clothing (including hat and dry footwear)
  • Blanket
  • Paper towels
  • Flashlight
  • Snack bars, water
  • First aid kit
  • Road maps
  • Matches and emergency candles (don’t forget to open car windows if you need to light the candles)
  • Tire chains
  • Bag of sand or salt or kitty litter
  • Traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush
  • Ice scraper
  • Booster cables
  • Warning devices (e.g. flares, emergency lights, or brightly colored help signs)
  • Fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures

Learn about winter driving best practices

  1. Winter driving is all about caution and preparation. You need to know possible problems so that you can avoid or prepare for them.
  2. Observe safety rules.
    • Buckle up.
    • Slow down (roads are extra slippery).
    • Stay alert (especially for black ice).
    • Know proper steering and braking procedures.

Watch this video for helpful tips on safe winter driving from the AAA:

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Top 3 Winter Driving Tips

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