Winter is at our doorsteps, which means road safety is a-knockin’ at the door. For cold-acclimatized Canucks, the season starts with wheels and tire safety. Our winters can be unforgiving—depending on your own personal threshold for cold —and so it is crucial to get an early start for the snowstorms and slippery roads that are just around the corner. Here are our top tips to help drivers prepare for a safe winter on the road.
Tip 1: Winter tires – start where the rubber meets the road
In some provinces (B.C. and Que.), car owners must have installed winter tires by a certain date. But our message is simple: don’t wait for the government to tell you what you already know – winter tires are an essential part of Canadian living. To help you commit ,annually, give yourself a deadline like December 1. Cutting corners on your tires puts you and your passengers, as well as those with whom you share the road, down what could become a very slippery – and dangerous – slope.
Tip 2: Check your winter tires’ tread depth
Installing your “winter tires” is the first step, but making sure they’re suitable and still effective is an important next step. There are multiple ways to check if your winter tires can last you an additional season, or if they need to be replaced. With a tire tread depth gauge—usually easy to find for a low cost—you can have an exact reading of your tire depth and it will take the guess work out of your decision making.
Tip 3: Trust in the experts
Having professionals oversee your tire change removes any stress off your shoulders and allows you to rest easy. Make sure you ask for referrals from trusted family or friends. Take your time to make a choice that will last a lifetime.
Tip 4: Consider getting a car maintenance check-up
While your car is in the garage, seize the opportunity to make sure everything is working as intended. A quick check-up to make sure your brake, steering, power train and other car systems are working properly is always worth the time and money. In addition to the safety benefits, taking great care of your car will ensure you get top dollar if you choose to trade it in later.
Tip 5: Purchase any items missing from your winter kit
Now is the best time to procure any items you might need for your “winter emergency kit”—before you actually need it. Restock on low-temperature-resistant windshield washer, a sturdy snow brush, booster cables, a blanket and flashlight (with working batteries!). Most importantly, make sure you keep them in your car.