4 things you need to do before heading out for a winter drive

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·4-min read

It wouldn’t be winter in Canada without snow — but while it can bring fun, it can also wreak havoc on your home and vehicle. From shoveling tips to driving checklists, Canadian Tire and Yahoo are bringing you everything you need to conquer the snowy season.

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

There’s driving and there’s winter driving - two totally different beasts.

If you live in Canada and have experienced a full season of driving through ice, snow and sleet, you’re aware it can be dangerous. Accidents don’t just happen on the road either. Extreme cold can easily affect a vehicle’s ability to function.

To get through winter without any trouble, take as many precautions as possible and educate yourself before heading out on the road. If you’re driving family or friends, it becomes even more important to protect them and other motorists.

Your duty as a driver extends far beyond getting from point A to be B. Here are five things you should tick off your winter driving checklist to ensure your own safety and the safety of others.

Change your tires

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

This is the most basic and important thing you should do before driving in the snow. Changing your tires from summer to winter tires will automatically make you a safer driver.

Winter tires feature a much more aggressive tread designed to push snow and slush away as well as give you more traction on slippery roads. If you’re unsure about which winter tires will work for your vehicle, consult an in-store expert who can advise on the benefits of various brands. One of the more popular choices is the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Tire, which features 3rd Generation Winter Grip technology so you can drive safely and with confidence all winter.

Another great option is the MotoMaster Winter Edge Tire. The unique zig-zag shape of the tire helps block and retain snow in the tread grooves by creating a wider area of rubber on the road, which means the tire feels more stable and provides more feedback to the driver, giving you confidence and assurance while driving.

Do a maintenance check

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

You should also do a maintenance check on your car before sending it out into harsh conditions. Make sure it’s up the challenge by topping up all fluids, including washer fluid and coolant. Prestone Antifreeze + Coolant Concentrate is compatible with all vehicle models and is your best defense against engine damage due to cold weather.

If you’re not comfortable doing auto maintenance yourself (or if you’d rather just leave it to the pros), Canadian Tire’s auto experts can ensure your vehicle is in road-ready condition for the winter. They’ll take care of everything from checking and changing the oil to making sure your battery and brakes are up to standard. As two essential parts of a functioning vehicle you don’t want either to fail on the road. ProSeries OE Brake Pads are a budget-friendly option that should improve your vehicle’s braking system, but Canadian Tire’s experts will be able to guide you to choose a model best-suited for your needs.

Prep a winter driving kit for the trunk

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

The most responsible thing you can do is prepare a winter driving kit.

A snow brush is a non-negotiable item. The Garant Telescopic Scratch Free Snow Brush, 52-in uses EVA foam instead of harsh bristles so your paint and windows don’t get scratched. You’ll also want to stock extra window washer fluid like Rain-X ClearView All Season Windshield Washer Fluid to ensure clear visibility at all times.

An all-in-one jump starter safety kit, like this one from MotoMaster, is another great addition to your winter driving arsenal. The kit includes everything you need to safely jump start your vehicle on your own in the case of an emergency. This particular kit includes a 30-piece first aid kit, a jump starter/power bank, smart cables, USB charging cable, 120 PSI air compressor, socket adapter, multi-tool, COB flashlight, head strap, super grip gloves, tire gauge and a Mylar emergency blanket — plus, it comes with a carrying case so you can easily store it or transport to and from multiple vehicles.

Check road conditions

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

Checking the weather isn’t enough to determine whether it’s a good idea to drive. You also need to check road conditions. Most regions will have a ministry of transportation website that logs road and visibility conditions several times a day. When in doubt, don’t travel if conditions look dicey or unsafe.

Canadian Tire and Yahoo Canada are helping Canadians make the most of winter, with snow removal advice, winter driving checklists and ideas on how to keep the whole family entertained and having fun all season long. Click here for more!