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How to Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter Driving

Add winter tires, a battery check and other safety preparations to your pre-winter to do list

A woman scrapes her windshield on a snowy street

Poor driving conditions and frigid temperatures are not uncommon in our country during the winter months. Giving thought to the machine that'll be tasked with hauling your family through this setting is a smart way to get ready for the season.

1. Get winter tires

Fitting a set of winter tires should be a priority. Their unique rubber composition and tread pattern work best when the temperature drops below 7°C, so you don’t need to wait for the first snowfall before you install them. During this service, ask your trusted mechanic to inspect your car’s brakes, lights, fluids and wipers. The latter is often overlooked until you can’t see through your streak-filled windshield.

2. Book a battery test

Many car batteries can be damaged by summer heat, leaving them poorly prepared to take on winter, so be sure to book a battery test with CAA’s mobile Battery Service or visit one of our CAA Approved Auto Repair Services.

3. Get a car emergency kit

Also, pack an emergency kit with essentials like a first aid kit in your car’s cargo area.

4. Keep an eye on the weather and road conditions

Snow means slow. Remember to adjust your driving habits by injecting a dose of patience while keeping an eye on weather and road conditions. Leave a healthy space between your car and the one ahead of you to compensate for increased stopping distances on slippery roads.

5. Clear the snow from your vehicle before setting out

Make sure to clear all the snow from your vehicle before setting out and don’t forget to move over for emergency vehicles, including stopped tow trucks with amber flashing lights, helping stranded motorists.

6. In the case of a collision, pull your vehicle aside and exchange information

Remember, collisions do happen. It’s important to keep a level head during this stressful time. If hospital visits aren’t necessary and your car is drivable, it’s okay to move your vehicle aside to take pictures and exchange information. This will help traffic flow. Then, head to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre. And don’t feel pressured to hire an on-the-scene tow operator. If a tow is required, you have the right to deny service from any tow operator who may arrive before your preferred tow provider. If for any reason a CAA vehicle is not able to get to you, remember that you have the right to decide who can tow your vehicle and to what location unless otherwise directed by the police. There is a towing bill of rights that is there to protect you.

7. Have your CAA Membership card on hand for towing, car battery boost, lockout services and roadside assistance

Most importantly, make sure to have your CAA Membership card on hand.

For more on winter driving, visit caasco.com/winterdriving.

Image credit: iStock.com/Andrija Nikolic