When the winter weather hits, we Canadians know to bundle up and keep ourselves warm and safe to get through the next few months. We even know to change our tires to winter or all-weather tires, and pay more attention on the slushy roads.
But are you prepared for a winter emergency?
Many Canadians think it will never happen to us, but the reality is anyone can get stuck in the snow. A little preparedness can go a long way towards getting you out of the snow and back on the road.
To make sure your vehicle is extra prepared for an emergency, consider keeping a few items handy:
Winter is cold! Make sure you’re keeping toasty while you wait for help. Ensure you have a stash of warm clothing including blankets, gloves, hats and socks at the ready. Your warm body will thank you.
Keep a small amount of cash stored in your glove compartment in case of emergency. Although most places accept credit and debit, you never know when you’ll need some cash on hand when you’re stuck. Even $20 is enough to be prepared.
Water bottles, granola bars and meal-replacement bars should be staples in your vehicle. These items last a long time and are good to keep around in case of an emergency, when the nearest restaurant or store might be far away. You never know how long you might be waiting for help and keeping some snacks around will sustain you for as long as it takes.
These should have a permanent home in your trunk. Jumper cables are a life-saver if your battery dies. If your battery is overdue for a change, a boost can get you going to get to your local auto shop. Pro tip: Bring in your vehicle to OK Tire for a complete electrical system inspection prior to winter to ensure your battery is functioning at its best.
Unless you have superpowers, odds are your vision isn’t great in the dark. Using your cell phone’s flashlight can run down your battery, so why not go old-school and keep a flashlight with spare batteries in your car. Don’t get left in the dark when a flashlight will brighten things up! Bonus, the light will help you signal for help if necessary.
Another way to stay as visible as possible is a fluorescent flag, or marker, that will reflect the light from oncoming vehicles. This will make sure you’re visible to traffic, keeping you and your vehicle safe. If you have a flag, wrapping it around your arm will make you more visible if you have to walk somewhere for assistance.
First aid kit
This is a staple that should always be in the trunk of your car. Having an up-to-date first aid kit is important in case of injury. Make sure you keep a list of the items in the kit and replace them when necessary.
Keeping your gas tank at least half full at all times will help if you’re lost and/or driving around for help. It’s also better for your gas tank if you don’t let it completely run down to empty.
As the seasons change, so should your tread. All-season tires are not adequate for cold temperatures and winter weather, as the rubber hardens and loses grip on the road. Winter tires are made of a specialized compound that can withstand temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius while staying pliable. They also have more sipes to allow for better control on the road. Winter tires are for more than just snow and slush; they help you stay in control in cold weather.
The arrival of winter shouldn’t mean avoiding the roads altogether. Being prepared and making sure your vehicle is ready for any emergency will give you peace of mind as you explore the beautiful sights Canada has to offer. After all, Canada is known for stunning winter views across the country. Happy exploring!