First things first: make sure to give yourself more time to get where you need to be, says Kaitlynn Furse, Director of Corporate Communications at CAA. Everything takes longer in the winter. From cleaning the snow off your car, to warming it up, to traversing icy patches, planning (and patience) is necessary to avoid speeding and collisions.
Second, make sure your car is running smoothly. Check your oil and other fluids. Inspect your tires. CAA recommends getting four matching winter tires, says Furse. Check the tire pressure once a month (it decreases with the cold) to help with gas mileage, stability, and to avoid getting a flat.
Car maintenance is key.
Are the wiper blades still doing their job? Do you have proper visibility? Remember to check the battery too. “There’s been a 27 percent increase in battery calls over the past couple of years,” shares Furse of a challenge she attributes to extreme weather conditions and the increase in power draw due to all our devices.
And don’t forget to carry a safety kit, well-stocked with all the necessities (e.g. blanket, food, water). “No one wants to think about an emergency kit, but it’s always important to have,” she explains of the importance of being self-sufficient after a collision. Keeping an extra phone charger in your car is a good idea too, she adds, highlighting the challenge faced by many drivers who find their phone battery is dead just when they need to make an emergency call.