Winter Driving Safety Tips Every Canadian Should Know

Don't let the winter weather catch you—and your ride—by surprise. To make sure you're prepared, check out these winter driving safety tips from the auto experts at NAPA Canada.

No matter how many Canadian winters you’ve got under your belt, it never hurts to review the winter driving safety guidelines before another season of white-outs and slick, ice-covered roads. Here are 15 winter driving safety tips recommended by the auto experts at NAPA Canada:

  • Don’t drive in winter until all snow and ice is cleared off your windows, side mirrors, headlights, taillights and license plates. (You might consider these headlight upgrades for better visibility.)
  • Before you head into winter traffic, make sure that your windshield wipers are not frozen to your windshield.
  • Keep your windshield washer fluid tank full. (Here’s how to check your windshield wiper fluid level.)
  • It’s important to allow the oil to flow before taking off in cold weather, so start your car and let it warm up for a minute or two. This will ease wear on your engine and other mechanical components.
  • Check the tread on your tires regularly for uneven or extreme wear. (Find out when is the right time to change to winter tires.)
  • Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your vehicle. If you become stranded in extreme conditions, the extra fuel can keep you nice and warm.
  • Whenever you run your car to keep warm in the cold weather, make sure you keep a window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide from building up. If you can, free the exhaust pipe from any snow to further reduce the carbon monoxide risk.
  • Take care when parking in snow. A blocked tailpipe could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep an extra hat and pair of gloves in your car for unexpected weather changes. (Here are more ways to stay warm in a car that has no heat.)
  • Pack a winter survival kit for your trunk, including a blanket, emergency flashlight, and non-perishable foods like candy bars or crackers.
  • In case of a snow emergency, keep a shovel, an extra pair of windshield wiper blades, snow brush and ice scraper handy. (Find out why you need to keep a nail file in your car this winter.)
  • If you are heading into a skid or slip, remember to keep your foot off the brake and the accelerator.
  • When stuck in ice or snow, try using your floor mats to gain extra traction under your tires. (A carpet remnant also works well!)
  • If you hit a patch of ice and start to slide, take your foot off of the gas pedal. Do not use your brake. Do not jerk the steering wheel. Instead, turn your car towards the skid.
  • If the road conditions are icy or snowy, don’t panic! Because people tend to over-steer, it’s important to drive slowly.

For more great tips on how to maintain your car and to find the parts you need, visit NAPA Canada.

Now that you know these winter driving safety tips, find out 20+ things you must do to get your car ready for winter.