Winter’s coming quickly, and with it comes the usual chores of shovelling the driveway, scraping ice off the windshield and bundling up before leaving the house. But before the time comes to deal with the challenges the colder weather presents, make sure your vehicle is ready for the season.
December 1 to 7 is National Safe Driving Week, and the Canada Safety Council is reminding Canadians to winter-proof their vehicles to make any driving they may do become easier, safer and more reliable.
One of the most beneficial preventative measures you can take is to install winter tires on your car. Get four tires that are suitable for your vehicle, paying special attention to the mountain/snowflake symbol on the side to indicate that they conform to winter tire standards. Don’t wait for the first snowfall to make the change, either — winter tires should be installed when the ambient temperature drops below 7C. This is when the rubber in all-season tires hardens and starts losing the grip it offers.
According to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s Winter Tire Report, only half of Canadian motorists outside Quebec — where winter tire use is mandatory according to provincial law — use winter tires, with 63 per cent of people surveyed incorrectly believing that all-season tires offer adequate braking power and traction for Canadian winters.
However, the survey showed the biggest detractor for switching to winter tires was the cost. But, in addition to government incentives, some insurance companies also offer discounts to drivers who use winter tires. In Quebec, where the tires have been mandatory since 2008, crashes have decreased significantly; a study done for the province’s transportation ministers showed an 18 per cent drop. Don’t put a price on peace of mind — winter tires can save lives.
In addition to the installation of winter tires, basic maintenance of your vehicle is also of critical importance before the winter months are in full swing. Be sure to take action on the following items:
The Canada Safety Council has a limited number of ice scrapers available for free to interested motorists. Please email us at email@example.com for more information.
Driving in the winter always poses a new set of challenges to even the most experienced of drivers. Ensure that you’re well prepared to face the elements, leave yourself plenty of time and space to get stopped if necessary and, if possible, avoid driving in poor visibility bad weather conditions entirely.
The Canada Safety Council wishes you a happy and safe winter!