Top 10 Winter Driving Tips from ReadersDigest.ca

Road safety in hazardous weather conditions

  1. Avoid the winter slip ‘n’ slide: To ensure your vehicle is ready for Canada’s changing winter weather, switch your all-season tires to winter ones before the temperature drops below 7°C.
  2. Replace worn tires: It’s important to check your tires each winter season because worn or bald tires can be dangerous. Tires have tread wear indicator bars molded into them. A solid bar of rubber across the width of the tread means it’s time to replace the tire. Contact your nearest tire dealership if you have any questions or concerns about the wear on your tires.
  3. Don’t mix and match: Mixing tires with different tread patterns, different internal constructions and/or different sizes compromises the stability of the vehicle. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with four identical winter tires.
  4. Top up your fluids! Make sure you always keep your gas tank at least half full. On very cold days, the condensation in the tank can freeze and cause problems. Also, don’t forget about your windshield-washer fluid!
  5. Pump up your tires! For every 5°C drop in temperature, tires lose one pound of air pressure. To ensure optimum fuel efficiency and prevent irregular or premature wear, tire inflation should be checked monthly.
  6. Don’t rely on four wheel drive or electronic systems: Advanced systems like four-wheel drive, electronic stability control and anti-lock braking provide vehicle stability and power transmission but are not substitutes for winter tires. Winter tires offer optimized traction during braking, acceleration and handling. Remember, your brakes stop the wheels, but it’s the tires that are in contact with the road and that ultimately stop the vehicle.
  7. Take a cell phone! For long trips, don’t forget to take a cell phone in case you need to call for help. Pull over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle before making the call.
  8. Buckle up and adjust your driving to road conditions!