Every October, Car Safety Month encourages everyone to think seriously about driving and car safety, and to prepare themselves for the winter driving ahead. This includes preparing and maintaining your vehicle for winter roads, and getting yourself ready to deal with dangerous winter road conditions.
Some simple maintenance tips for getting your vehicle ready for the winter include:
- Checking your antifreeze and coolant.
- Inspecting your tires. Check tread depth and tire pressure, and consider getting snow tires.
- Checking your wipers and replacing them if you need to. Wipers work hard during the winter clearing off snow and muck.
- Checking your windshield washer fluid.
- Checking your battery and replacing it if necessary; winter is tough on your car’s battery, so you want it to be in top shape.
- Putting a winter emergency/survival kit in the trunk of your car. It’s a good idea to be ready for the unexpected.
Once your vehicle is equipped to deal with winter road conditions, it’s time to make sure you are. Winter driving poses many challenges. You have to adjust the way you drive in order to stay safe:
Slow down. Accidents which occur as a result of driving too fast are much more common in winter. Adjust your speed according to road conditions, not speed limit postings.
Look ahead. It’s more difficult to keep your eyes open and be alert in winter – but it’s also even more important. Snow, sleet and grey skies are just some of the things that mak it more difficult to see what’s going on around you.
Increase distance between you and other vehicles. It takes longer to stop when roads are slippery and snow-packed. Leave more room in front of your car so you have more time to brake and avoid collisions.
Brake carefully, especially around corners. If you take corners with too much speed you can lose control of the vehicle and slide.
Learn how to control a skid by learning how to stop yourself from sliding. Check out tips online, or register in a driver training course.
October brings with it some wonderful things: holidays, get-togethers with friends and family, brisk autumn mornings and red, yellow and orange leaves. But in Manitoba, we know that when fall begins, winter is not far behind.