Winter Driving Guide - Before You Head Out

The fall season brings with it beautiful colours and the urge to hibernate. Fall is the best time to prepare you and your car for winter driving. There are some simple things you can do to maintain your vehicle in preparation for colder weather.

Before you head out

The most important thing to do before you head out onto snowy roads is to plan and prepare for your drive. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

  • Leave yourself lots of time so you're not rushing to get to where you need to be.
  • If your battery is dead, contact CAA for a boost. If you're a CAA Member, a battery boost is included with your membership. Not a CAA Member? Join CAA today.
  • If you're not a CAA Member, check your car owner manual for instructions on boosting your battery using jumper cables.
  • Check The Weather Network before you head out and find out the current and forecasted weather and road conditions.
  • Avoid driving in hazardous weather. You've heard the Police spokesperson tell us on those treacherous days, "Don't be driving on the roads if you don't need to be." Heed their advice and if you really have to travel, use a taxi or public transit.
  • If you're nervous about driving in winter, take a friend to be your second set of eyes.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up and can kill humans and animals quickly and silently.
  • Let your engine idle briefly. Anything more wastes fuel, increases engine wear, reduces the life of engine oil, and puts extra emissions into the environment.
  • Consider a block heater, which is an electric engine heater that you plug in at night to keep your coolant warm. The block heater will ensure you have instant heat in the mornings.
  • Start out slowly; gauge the weather and road conditions before you attempt to drive at the posted speed.
  • When turning, accelerating, or stopping, slow down to maintain control of the vehicle and avoid loss of traction on the roads.
  • Leave plenty of distance between you and other cars. As winter progresses we tend to feel over-confident. Drive slowly.
  • Keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow. A blocked pipe can force carbon monoxide back into your car's interior.
  • Do not drive with the heater in recirculation mode. There's simply too much moisture from you and the melting snow on your boots for the defroster to do its job.

The information above is intended to provide general information only. Nothing is intended to provide legal or professional advice or to be relied on in any dispute, claim, action, demand or proceeding. CAA South Central Ontario does not accept liability for any damage or injury resulting from reliance on this information.

See also