Before you drive to meet the winter elements, read these winter holiday safety tips:
If you haven’t been to a mechanic this season, it’s ideal you do so. Even if your vehicle appears to be in good condition, a mechanic may be able solve a future problem in its early stages. Have your mechanic check the battery, brakes, cooling system, defrosters, engine, exhaust system, heaters, oil, tires and wipers.
2. Watch the weather forecast
It is crucial to check the weather forecast before you leave for your trip. If driving conditions look horrid and they are advising you to stay off the roads, stay off the roads. It is also possible the weather could clear up in a few hours or even the next day. Watch or listen to the news to find out if there are any closed roads or major traffic jams which could affect travel plans.
3. Prepare an emergency kit
Driving in heavy snow, ice and slippery surfaces can be challenging. With winter, the days are shorter and visibility is reduced. Along with having a prepared vehicle, you need to prepare an emergency kit, in case you end up having to pull over and are stranded on the side of the road. Having a winter emergency kit in your car could help save the lives of you and your passengers. These kits can be purchased at several hardware stores or some of the items can be found from your very own home. Most kits should be able to fit in the trunk of your car.
An emergency kit should have windshield wiper fluid, an ice scraper, fuel line antifreeze, booster cables, blankets, traction mats, kitty litter, a shovel, flashlight, cell phone charger, reflective vest, matches, survival candle, water and non-perishable food items.
Technology such as smartphones and GPS systems are handy to have, however, they can’t always be relied on. Bring a road map and extra chargers just in case.
4. Drive defensively
It’s always a good idea to sharpen your winter driving skills with a defensive driving course. There are plenty of winter defensive driving courses in Ontario. Besides helping you to stay safe, defensive driving can help save you money, by reducing your insurance premium. No matter how long you’ve had your license for, it’s smart to be proactive and refresh your skills for snowy weather ahead.
5. Never drink and drive
Around the holidays, police are on heightened alert for drunk drivers who have too much to drink during festivities. The police also tend to perform roadside checks, especially on New Year’s Eve. Driving while intoxicated is not only extremely dangerous but is a serious offence. Even one drink can reduce reaction time and cause blurred vision.
As a driver, pay close attention to your surroundings, and keep an eye out for drunk drivers this holiday season. If you do spot a drunk driver, be sure to keep your distance from their vehicle.
If you plan on travelling during the winter holidays, make sure your car is in stable condition and you drive safely on the roads. Take extra precautions and drive defensively.
Happy and safe travels!