Best-Buy-Winter-Driving.jpg

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.

Best-Best-Wipers.jpgVehicle Checklist

  • 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

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

Best-Buy_Weego.jpgStay Charged

  • 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:

BBY_10162015_SMART.jpg
Smart home preparation
winter1.jpg
Cold weather comfort
soup.jpg
Soups and stews

 


Travis Persaud.jpeg

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.

 


Avatar
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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Make your car ready for the winter. It is important to have a maintenance check for your car. It improves its performance and gives you a smooth drive on the snowy roads.


  2. tpersaud wrote:

     

    • 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.

    Some thoughts on “winter tires”…

    • There “M+S” which is short for mud and snow.  These snow tires are designed with large lugs to minimize snow build up.  All season tires will often have a M+S designation.
    • In recent years, there is a better severe winter designation tire with peak mountain & snowflake.  These winter tires are made with a softer rubber to work better with icy conditions
    • All season tires don’t have the softness of winter tires, so some retailers are now calling them 3 season tires
    • Some manufacturers are now making their all season tires with a softer rubber for cold weather traction, these tires are now called “all weather” tires.  Some say summer handling on all weather tires may not be as good as a regular tire
    • with more of us living in apartments instead of spacious detached homes, many garages are now offering winter tire storage services.  All weather tires are the true all season tires where you can leave them all year round.
    • depending on where you live and how much snow you have…. some may choose to get studded tires for enhanced ice performance

    Personally, living on the wet coast….

    • having winter tires means I will have great control…. but not sure about the cars beside and behind me.  Snow days and public transit is my preferred choice to get around when the first flakes fall.
    • I don’t ski, nor do I travel much in snowy conditions, so it’s hard for me to justify getting winter tires for a few snow days in a year.
    • A double el nino means a warm winter for the wet coast, but more snow for the rest of the country.  I’m putting off those winter tires for another year.

    Has anyone heard about “tire aging”?  After 6 years, the rubber on your tires can harden and it may mean one should get new tires to avoid tread separation.

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=tire+aging

  3. I always put on winter tires (with studs) because I work at a ski hill and I want to make sure I have the best grip possible. My all seasons are M+S so I usually hold off until late october to put my winters on.

     

    I have never heard of the term “tire aging” however I do know that the sun can cause the tires to eventually crack thats why it is best to store your tires out of the sun to maximize life span.

     

    I had tires that stayed in my shed for 7 years and never used, and they were perfectly fine when I went to put them on

  4. @xl Yes, it’s impossible to know if other drivers on the road are applying the same level of prudence and wisdom as you. However, the more we get people driving safely—especially during the winter—and outfitted with proper tires, the better!

     

    @Drax86 That’s great re: studs! I drove a few ice courses using studded tires and they make a huge difference. 

Comments are closed.