Our Guide to Safe Winter Driving
Staying safe on winter roads means planning ahead and knowing how to react to snow, slush, and ice. We got you.
If there’s one thing Sudbury knows, it’s winter! And in honour of our newest Waypoint location, we asked our helpful colleagues to tell us their best tips for navigating the winter roads – wherever you are in Canada.
Some of the most important things you can do happen before you even get behind the wheel. Here’s where to begin:
Get winter tires. This can help with better traction and handling in snow, slush, and ice. And since cold weather can decrease tire pressure, be sure to check it regularly.
Make an emergency survival kit for your car. Fill it with items that will come in handy if you’re stranded including energy bars and bottles of water (both of which you can find at your nearest Waypoint location), blankets and warm clothing, a First Aid kit, candle & matches, four- or six-gauge booster cables, flashlight, and a whistle.
Keep your tank at least half full. While gas won’t freeze in sub-zero temperatures, condensation can form and freeze if your tank is near empty.
Put winter tools in your car. An ice scraper, snowbrush, shovel, salt, or cat litter are super handy to have in your car all winter long.
Fill up windshield washer fluid regularly. Splashing through muddy slush can make a real mess of your windshield. (Get our everyday deal when you buy two jugs at Waypoint, and you’ll always have an extra on hand!)
Dress for the weather. It’s tempting to go out in less bulky clothing when you’re blasting the heat in the car but imagine you will have to stand on the side of the road waiting for assistance – and dress for that.
Keep your cell phone charged. If you’re in need of assistance, you’ll want a full battery. And keep the numbers of a tow truck or CAA in your contacts.
Clear off snow and ice. We know how laborious it is to clean snow and ice off your windows and headlights in the winter, but it is so important for safe driving. Be sure to also remove snow and ice from the roof of your car; it may slide down and obscure your windshield while driving.
Go for regular vehicle maintenance. This is essential all year long, but anything you can do to avoid a winter breakdown is especially important.
Park in a garage if possible. This can give slushy buildup under your car a chance to melt. Otherwise, it may impact your ability to steer.
Check the weather forecast. This one seems like a no-brainer, right? But if it looks like harsh weather is coming, avoid driving if possible.
Done all of the above and now you’re ready to go? Great! Here’s what you can to do stay safer on the road.
Turn on your headlights. If it’s snowing out, keep your headlights on – even in daylight – to make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Take it slow. It’s better to be late than risk an accident. Avoid sudden acceleration and lane changes, as well as sharp turns.
Leave more space between you and other vehicles. Leaving plenty of space between you and other cars is always a good idea, especially at high speeds. And it’s even more true in winter weather. It may take over twice as long to stop.
Watch for black ice. It is most likely to occur in shaded areas, like bridges and overpasses.
If you do hit black ice, stay calm and keep the steering wheel straight. Don’t hit the brakes, even if it does feel like a natural reaction.
Anticipate the spray and be ready to react. Whenever a large vehicle passes in snowy conditions, there’s a change of spray on your windshield and a temporary loss of visibility. Be ready for it and don’t panic.
Stop for a break. If conditions become too severe or you’re feeling stressed, simply pull over and rest.
Stuck in the snow? Stay calm and stay in your car if possible until help arrives. Turn on your warning lights and use a flare if you have them.
From the team at our new location in Sudbury and Waypoints across Canada, we hope these tips help you stay safe out there. See you on the road!