Winter Vehicle Care – A Checklist for Safe Winter Driving





Winters in Ontario can be challenging and stressful for all drivers. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and change rapidly. These can put your vehicle’s condition and your driving skills to the test.

Every year thousands of vehicles are damaged in accidents. As a result, many people are injured and some are even killed. Casualty rates for 2018 from Transport Canada show that per 100,000 licensed drivers in Ontario, 492 were injured and 6 were killed.

Keeping you and your vehicle safe on the roads is the biggest priority of Hanford Tire.

In many cases, vehicle collisions and breakdowns can be prevented by making sure your vehicle is fully prepared for Winter. This article outlines some simple, yet important things you can do to be Winter ready.


Wiper Blades

These are key for improving your visibility during snow or rainfall. You should turn on your wipers and ensure that they are making complete contact with the windows. You want to be sure that any snow or water will be swept off your window while driving. 

Wiper blades deteriorate over time, so it’s important to check them at least once a year. If you ever have to drive through a rainstorm or snowstorm you’ll need them in good condition.

Having a spare set of wiper blades in your vehicle can also be handy if you or a passenger are familiar with how to install them. If you’re travelling and your current wiper blades stop working effectively, replacing them can ensure your visibility remains as clear as possible.


Vehicle Lights

Make sure all your interior and exterior lights are working. They improve your vision and the visibility of your vehicle for other drivers. For safe driving, ensure your headlights are aimed correctly and clear of any obstructions.


Brake System

A properly functioning braking system is crucial for safe winter driving. The limited response of worn components and low fluid levels may not provide the level of control needed for safe winter driving. Have your vehicle’s brake system inspected to ensure it’s in order and functioning well.


Battery Check

During cold winter months, starting an engine can take up to twice as much electrical current compared to normal conditions. A weak battery that was good enough through spring, summer and fall can leave you stranded during Winter. 

A professional electronic test will immediately determine whether your battery is up for another winter or if it needs to be replaced. A battery check service also reviews the overall state of your battery and its connections.



Fluids, Belts and Hoses Check

Regularly checking your vehicle’s oil and fluid levels will help keep your vehicle in good running condition. And while you’re at it, visually inspect the belts and hoses for cracks, bulges and leaks. Having these things looked after will greatly reduce the risk of your vehicle suddenly breaking down on the road.

On a similar note, you should consider keeping an extra jug of windshield washer fluid in your car. For the cost of a few dollars, it could save you from a tough spot if you suddenly run out.


Safety and Survival Kits

We have saved the most important thing for last. Safety kits are groups of essential supplies for safety and comfort. Above all, every vehicle should have one, as they make life easier in the event of an accident or breakdown.

There are a wide variety of tools and items that could help you in your time of need. Some of these tools and items we recommend are:

-Ice scraper/snowbrush
-Small shovel
-Booster cables
-Flashlight and batteries
-First aid kit
-Blankets
-Extra clothing/footwear
-Extra gloves
-Water and dry snacks
-Bag of sand, salt, or even kitty litter to help with traction under your wheels


These items can be purchased individually, or you can obtain packaged safety kits that contain several together. The list of items is long, but you’ll be grateful for being prepared if you ever get in a tough situation. Consequently, these items are especially vital for drivers that travel long distances outside of cities. It typically takes longer for help to arrive in these situations.


During Winter, there are some general actions you can take on a regular basis to improve your safety. 

These include:

-Clearing snow and ice off of your vehicles windows, lights, mirrors and the roof when needed
-Regularly checking the air pressure of your tires
-Keeping at least a half tank of gas at all times
-Making sure your cellphone is charged before you leave home
-Checking forecasted weather conditions before making plans that include travel


The list of items above may seem excessive to some, but you can never be too cautious with Winter driving.


Conclusion

In conclusion, by doing your vehicle due diligence this year, you can greatly decrease the risk of an accident or breakdown occurring. 


The headings above are the most important and simple things you can do to prepare. However, there is always more that can be done. For example, you might consider getting new Winter tires if your tread is getting low or you only have all-season tires.


We hope this article helps you understand the importance of preparing your vehicle for Winter. Furthermore, we also hope that it gives you some actionable advice that allows you to take action before Winter arrives in full force.


For a more extensive checklist on winter safe driving tips, visit CAA’s website.

If you have any questions about this article, you can give us a call or reach out through our Contact Us page.