I used to hate winter driving.
That’s not hyperbole, I actually hated it with great passion.
What is there to enjoy? Inclement weather creates even more traffic. Snow piles up on the sides of streets, eliminates a lane and causes traffic to build. And many drivers don’t know how to safely drive when there’s snow and ice on the road—causing fender benders and, yes, even more traffic.
But I’ve changed from my youthful thinking. I learned that prepping my vehicle and skills ensures I stay safe while driving—and helps me avoid all of that added traffic.
Here are some tips and tricks, plus a few gadgets, you’ll want so you stay safe while driving this winter.
- Do you have winter tires? If not, now is the time to invest in them. The softer rubber compound of winter tires mean they provide a noticeable difference in weather that’s 7 degrees Celsius and below. They offer superior grip and a shorter stopping distance compared to all-season tires.
- Take your car in for a seasonal checkup. A certified technician will ensure everything from your engine hoses to transmission, brake and power steering fluids are in working condition. And if you noticed you could use new windshield wipers, grab a new pair, like this one from Autotex, so you always have a clear view of the road.
- Frequently check the pressure of your (winter) tires. The colder weather will decrease the pressure in tires and compromise your safety. Find the correct pressure level in your vehicle’s manual or on the side of the door jamb.
Winter Driving Skills
- If you don’t have much winter driving experience, or simply want to up your level of confidence, consider taking a winter driving course. There are a number available including the Mercedes-Benz Winter Driving Academy and Porsche Winter Driving Experience, or simply search for one in your area.
Emergency Preparedness Kit
- No matter your driving skills there’s always a chance an emergency might arise in the winter. Make sure to have some essentials in your car so you’re prepared. Items should include:
• Collapsable shovel, ice scraper and snowbrush
• Blanket, candle and matches
• Sand, salt or kitty litter to create traction on ice
• Water and nonperishable food items
- Keeping your gadgets charged and ready can be a huge help in an emergency—for you or others on the road. And always having a way to recharge a dead battery could be a lifesaver. Thankfully you can do both with one device. The Weego 12 is a lithium-ion jump starter that can not only boost your engine (up to 6.4L gas engine, 3.2L diesel engine) but it also charges your phone and other gadgets via its USB port, apple lightning connector and laptop connector kit. Similarly the Wagan iOnBoost comes with attachments for many popular devices and has been reviewed previously on the Plugin Blog.
Avoid All of the Traffic
We’ve already established that I hate traffic. I’m sure you do as well. Then invest in a GPS with live traffic, like this one by TomTom, so you’re able to avoid any problematic roads during the winter.
Cover image courtesy of Young Drivers.
Here are some other articles about preparing for winter that you may be interested in:
Smart home preparation
Cold weather comfort
Soups and stews
By Travis Persaud, Emerging Tech and Home Theatre
I have contributed to a number of magazines across North America, including enRoute and Exclaim! I love variety and it shows in the wide range of topics that I have covered: automotive to music, technology to travel, beer to real estate. When not writing, I am often working on projects for Big Rig Brewery, an award-winning craft brewery based in Ottawa. I’m also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You can contact me on Twitter or visit my website.