The New Year rang in with extreme cold and low temperatures, a complete turn around from the milder weather that put tens of thousands in Eastern Canada at risk from the Ice Storm and power outages just a week ago. As the weather changes, driving is often dangerous. We covered some safe driving tips with a winter driving quiz in this video post. Now, whether you are a driving pro or just learning, we have a follow up for you on how to keep safe and warm while you battle the winter roads.

Being prepared is the best safety measure.

Please scan through the list below to see how prepared you are for winter. When you’re in an emergency situation or when visibility is poor, it is way to late to do anything about it. We’ve also included some helpful tips we hope will save you money with some special discounts that you may be entitled to, as well as free coverage on windshield that you’ll want to know more about.

Here are 5 important tips to help keep you safe and prepared for winter driving

Tip #1: Don’t get left out in the cold! Check your roadside assistance plan.

Most new vehicles now come with roadside assistance included in the new vehicle purchase. Sometimes the roadside assistance can last years, and is easily something we take for granted as new vehicle owners. However, in some cases it expires based on the use of the car, meaning the number of kilometers – this could reduce your automatic coverage or make it expire long before you realize.

So the first step to ensuring you have a safe winter season is to prepare for emergencies by contacting your roadside assistance provider and making sure your coverage is in place.

Don’t have roadside assistance? You may be able to get it free!

If you realize that you do not have roadside assistance, Aviva Canada and Intact insurance both offer special deals with their insurance policies for roadside assistance. Let us know if you want additional information, we are happy to help!

Most importantly: Make sure  you are covered so that if you get stranded on the side of the road, you’ll have help and spend as little time as possible out in the cold.

Tip #2: Winter Tires (VIDEO) – What they do for you

According to Transports Quebec , a study in 2005 showed that 38% of accidents that occurred on the road involved at least one vehicle with all-season tires, vs. winter tires.  Therefore since 2008, in Quebec, it is a law to equip your vehicle with winter tires from December 15th to March 15th – the winter driving season.

Tip #3:Avoid Gas-Line Freeze up – Keep your Gas tank At Least Half Full.

According to CAA, keeping your gas tank at least half full reduces condensation that can cause gas line freeze up. Besides preventing this inconvenient situation, it also assures you always have enough gas to get where you are going and once again, you’ll never get stuck in the cold. During the winter driving season it is not unusual to get stuck in traffic for hours, or use extra gas to get out of a snow bank – stay prepared.

Tip #4: Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit & Get Winter Tools for Your Car”

Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit & Get Winter Tools for Your Car

Keep a roadside emergency kit in the car so that if you do run into trouble you are prepared. Some items to include:
•    A bag of sand – in case you get stuck in the snow
•    Shovel and windshield scraper
•    Extra windshield washer fluid that is made for below zero temperatures
•    A blanket
•    A flashlight or flashing light, matches, batteries for the flashlight, a first aid kit, a cell phone charger

Note that some stores sell some great emergency roadside kits that even include items that can fill your tires with air, or have flashing lights to use  if you’re stalled. It’s always a good idea to check the options at your local supply stores.

Tip #5: Easy Vehicle Maintenance Checklist and A Free Coverage For Windshield Damage

Your Vehicle Maintenance Winter Checklist – Keep Your Car Running In Winter!
The following items should be verified because their functioning will directly affect your ability to drive in wintery conditions.

  • Windshield – small cracks or nicks in the windshield can often spread or get worse in the cold weather.

Did you know some insurance companies will repair your glass for free if there is a small chip or crack in it?

If you have a small nick or chip in the glass or a hairline crack, call your insurance to see if they offer this special coverage on your policy- you may be surprised to find out they will take care of it for you with no deductible or consequence if it is your first incident!

    • Winter wiper blades & windshield fluid – make sure they are winter ready – a clear windshield will help you significantly when weather conditions are bad
    • Vehicle lights – make sure they are all working properly
    • Tread on tires
    • Check the battery
    • Check your antifreeze level
    • Also verify critical winter car functions like the thermostat, heater, brakes and defroster.

That’s our list, now tell us yours…what kind of tips do you have for winter driving safety?

We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
This article has been adapted from “Winning at the Insurance Gamble” and is the second in our Winter Driving series. Read about Safe Driving Tips on our last post in the series here If you loved this post or found it helpful, then please share with your friends and family! Drive safely and happy New Year to you!