Winter Driving Tips

Winter is Here – Prepare for a Totally Different Driving Experience

Winter Driving Tips From Canadian Black Book – Canada’s Trusted Source for Vehicle Values

As the leaves fall and the north wind picks up during autumn, as Canadians we know winter is coming and with it opens a whole new driving season. Every year at this time we need to be thinking about, how we as drivers and vehicle owners, will adjust to take on the cold.

Canadian Black Book would like to remind drivers of some important pointers to help prepare for the winter driving season.

Get a Winter Check-up:
In the fall time, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic for proper functioning brakes, steering, heating/cooling system, ignition, battery, tire life, among others.

Winter Tires:
Winter tires are critical. Winter tires provide far superior traction on cold, snowy or icy roads. Winter tires can stop 30% shorter in icy conditions, versus regular all-season tires. Also, they can help a car accelerate in slippery conditions to a distance of 60m in 25% less time.

Be sure to check provincial laws, as some jurisdictions have implemented mandatory installation of winter tires.

It is recommended to install your winter tires when the temperature slips below 7 degrees Celsius. This will give you time before the snow starts to fly and black ice patches begin to form on the roadways.

Also, check tire pressure often for optimal tire performance.

Have the Right Stuff:

  • A snow brush and ice scrapper. Always clear your vehicle of snow and ice before you drive
  • Have an emergency kit in the vehicle, including first aid, warning light/flares, a candle, matches and an emergency food pack
  • Dress warm. Have gloves and a blanket in the vehicle in case you get stranded
    A fully charged cell phone can be critical if you require roadside assistance or have an emergency
  • Jumper cables should be onboard as batteries tend to lose charge more often in cold weather
  • A small shovel kept in your vehicle can get you unstuck from deep snow. A tow chain and traction mat are also good to have

Drive Carefully:

Slow down. We know conditions are more precarious in the winter, so drive with caution and pay close attention to your surroundings.

Drivers should learn and practice proper winter driving techniques, such as skid control, avoid abrupt movements, brake softly before making turns, among others. Understand that rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles act differently in on snow and ice and how to correct if a skid occurs. Also, never tailgate as it takes longer distances to stop on snow and ice.

Resist Cruise Control:

Although this function is very convenient, it can be very dangerous in wintery conditions. If in cruise control on a wet, snowy or icy road and your vehicle begins to hydroplane, the cruise function will accelerate, possibly resulting in loss of control.

Be Seen:

Visibility on the roads, in the winter, can be more difficult than the rest of the years, with snow, sleet and diminished daylight hours. Ensure all your lights and signals are functioning correctly. It is recommended to keep your headlights on at all times of day.

Make sure you can see:

Replace any damaged windshield wipers or ones that streak. You can purchase wipers blades that are specifically designed for winter use. Be sure to top-up your windshield wiper fluid, as during winter you will use it much more often. You need to use a winter fluid as it will not freeze up to -40 degrees, where summer fluids will freeze much faster and can cause damage to your washer system.


Check road conditions and weather reports before you travel. Always leave yourself extra time in the event of inclement weather. This way, you won’t be in a rush or have a need to drive faster. If serious inclement weather is expected, plan not to drive at all whenever possible.

Ensure you have enough fuel with reserves to make it to you destination.

Never Drink and Drive:

Drinking and driving is never acceptable. Doing so in the winter months is even more dangerous given that road conditions can already be hazardous. Drive sober!

Keep warm and be safe on the roads this winter!

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