As has happened every winter since the automobile was invented, December will officially welcome winter to Canada. As Game of Thrones’ House Stark proclaims, “winter is coming,” but they never mention how to prepare your vehicle. Modern Mississauga has you covered with six easy ways to keep safe and sound on the roads and highways this winter.
1. Install winter tires and winter wiper blades
There is indisputable evidence that winter tires offer better traction and safer stopping distances. Don’t believe the “all season tire” hype…it’s like putting running shoes on and trying to skate.
Winter wiper blades are heavier and move ice/slush/snow more effectively than summer blades. Having clear forward visibility is paramount to the safe operation of about two tons of metal. Use winter washer fluid as well as it’s got a much lower freezing point than summer fluid.
2. Put an emergency kit in the trunk
Get an all-purpose storage container that takes up about 25% of your trunk space and fill it with extra winter washer fluid and winter wipers, road salt, a small shovel, a pair of winter boots and thick socks, a blanket, candles, waterproof matches, jumper cables, a jerry can, and road flares, which are all items that’ll help you if you’re stuck and waiting for the roadside assistance program you should be subscribed to.
3. The glove box is for more than gloves
Keep a few chocolate bars/chips/sesame seed bars in there and a couple of bottles of water that are 75% filled (so they don’t burst). Keep a portable cell phone charger in there too and set a reminder every two weeks to re-charge it so it’s useable when you’re stuck.
4. Keep your gas tank far away from E
Always keep your gas tank at least a quarter full. In the winter of 2014, it took me over four hours to drive from Port Credit to midtown on Hurontario because two buses and a tractor trailer got stuck on the small hill at the GO Train underpass. Running out of gas as you’re stuck in a traffic jam is absolutely avoidable.
5. Have an extendable snow brush with an ice scraper unit
There are still selfish and lazy drivers who refuse to clean their entire car of snow before going on the road and blinding others with debris flying off their car. Got short arms and a tall vehicle? That’s where the extendable handle comes in. For the safety of all of us, take the extra two minutes and thoroughly clean the snow from your vehicle, especially the roof.
6. Give yourself extra time
A regular 20-minute drive in clear conditions will certainly take longer if there’s snow/slush/black ice/rain, so instead of zipping through traffic (and risking a serious collision), leave a bit earlier.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving, jump on the MiWay, call a cab, or simply stay home and do your outing at another time.