Well, here we go again…another Canadian winter. There's a lot you can do to have a safe and happy winter driving season. Sure there are plenty of tips on how to drive safely on snow and ice, but safe winter driving starts before you even turn on the engine.
Visit a PartSource near you for all your winter driving needs and accessories.
Ready, Set... before you Go
- Check your antifreeze. If you haven't tested your antifreeze yet, now's the time to do it—before winter REALLY sets in.
- Check your oil. Whether you need an oil change or not, you were most likely running a thicker viscosity oil in the summer months. As the weather turns cold, thinner grade oil is recommended for easier starting. TIP: Consider switching to synthetic oil. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Inspect your belts and hoses. Cracked, worn or frayed rubber won't stand up to the nasty cold. This type of preventive maintenance can save you loads on money later on.
- Inspect your tires. This is especially important if you are running with all-seasons. Of course, it's always best to slap on some snow's, but if you insist on running on all-seasons, make sure the tread depth is good enough for traction on ice and snow.
- Replace your wiper blades. PartSource has an excellent assortment of wiper blades including winter blades specially designed for maximum visibility in the winter. These blades are also designed with a protective rubber housing insulating the blade from snow and ice build-up. Find a PartSource near you.
- Protect your paint. Road salt, snow and ice can really do a number on old paint. A solid coating of quality wax will help protect your paint. Just apply before the winter.
- Test your battery, starter and alternator. The last thing you want is for any of these parts to fail on you in the middle of winter. Bring in your battery, starter or alternator into PartSource for a FREE test.
How To Look Like A Pro In The Winter
Now that your car is ready for winter, let's go over some Winter Driving Safety tips. The first rule of winter safety is there are no rules: With Mother Nature being the way she is it's always best to prepare for the worst. Imagine being stranded in the middle of nowhere late at night in the freezing cold.
What to Pack
- Flashlight with fresh batteries
- First aid kit
- Extra socks, gloves and hat
- Safety kit
- Emergency food supply and bottled water
- Road salt and a portable shovel
- A fully charged cell phone and power adapter
How to Drive
- Keep both hands on the wheel. Many of us have the tendency to drive with one hand on the wheel and hang the other out the window. Well, since your window will likely be closed during the winter, why not drive with both hands on the wheel. Remember, the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position. As simple as it sounds, you'll be better prepared if you have to make a sudden maneuver.
- Avoid fishtailing. Although more common with rear-wheel drives, any car can fishtail in slippery conditions, rendering it out of control and potentially heading straight for on-coming traffic. This is known as “oversteer”. To overcome this, steer into the direction of the skid and gently apply the accelerator to regain control.
- Avoid plowing. This is commonly knows as "understeer" and happens most often in front wheel drive cars. This is best avoided by slowing down before cornering.
- Road banks. Uneven road surfaces are very common. This doesn't present a problem under normal weather conditions, however, on snow and ice, your car can slide sideways down the bank. Remember to adjust your speed and driving accordingly.
- Avoid panic braking. Even though many new cars are equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), you may be driving a car with a conventional braking system. If you are, it's important you don't panic while braking on a slippery surface. This will likely cause your wheels to lock-up, which increases your stopping distance. You can avoid this gently applying your brakes on-and-off, or “pumping” to allow your tires to grip to surface.