Every year it comes, and every year we seem to forget just how brutal Canadian winters can be. With the bitter cold comes a whole new set of familiar driving obstacles: slippery road conditions, lower visibility, and of course, snow accumulation.

Below are a few tips to help you make it safely through another year of driving in the “Great White North.”

1. Clear your vehicle of all snow and ice

It can be a bit annoying, especially in the morning when you’re headed to work, but it’s important. You need to be able to see properly out of all windows and mirrors of your car to keep an eye on any road hazards and blind spots.

When clearing your car, don’t forget to clear the snow from the roof! This step is often overlooked, but neglecting to do so can be dangerous for you or other drivers when snow or ice flies off the roof once your vehicle starts moving.

Make sure you keep your snow brush and ice scraper in your car at all times so you’re prepared wherever and whenever winter weather hits.

2. Keep windshield fluid topped up

With snowploughs clearing and salting roads through the winter, the salt can build up on your car and more dangerously, your windshield, obstructing your view. Keeping your windshield clean means most people go through wiper fluid much faster during the winter than other times of the year.

3. Winter tires are a must

We hope that if you’re reading this that you have already switched over to your winter tires, but if you haven’t, consider this a reminder. Not only will it get you a break on car insurance with Cayuga Mutual, but it will help you keep traction in icy and snowy road conditions.

4. Keep an emergency kit in your car

You should always keep an emergency kit in your car in case of, well, an emergency. It’s never anyone’s plan to get stranded in the snow or not make it to your intended destination, but it happens. Your emergency kit should contain items such as:

  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothes
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Reflective pylons or triangles
  • Extra coolant
  • Extra motor oil
  • Pen and paper
  • Paper towel
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Can of tire inflator
  • Basic tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench, pocket knife)

5. Don’t take unnecessary risks

If the weather is really inclement, don’t do any unnecessary travelling. Reschedule your plans, or maybe don’t go out for those extra groceries.

If you absolutely must travel in bad weather, be sure to drive slowly, carefully and leave plenty of room from other cars. Pull over and find somewhere to stay for the night if necessary.

As always, Cayuga Mutual asks that you don’t drive impaired. Arrange for a designated driver ahead of time, take a taxi, use public transit or plan to stay overnight to make sure everybody on the roads gets home safely.

Cayuga Mutual wants everyone to be careful this winter and practice safe driving, especially in inclement weather. Use these tips to always be prepared for the weather and see yourself safely through to spring.