Ultramar

Tips for staying safe on the road this winter

Winter is back, and slowly making itself noticed on the roads.

Buying boots, a coat, and hat is probably already on your to-do list—but what about your car? It is just as important to ensure your vehicle is well prepared for the cold season.

Here are some tips for navigating the beginning of winter, keeping your car in good shape, and staying safe!

1. Winter tires: sticking to the road

It’s probably one of the most well-known practices by drivers living in northern countries: the mandatory change from summer to winter tires. Don’t forget that you only have until December 15! However, it is highly recommended not to wait until the last minute to make the switch: winter doesn’t necessarily plan its arrival according to the calendar!

Did you know that winter tires are made of special composites designed to be resistant the cold and offer superior traction? It helps them grip better when it’s cold outside, as opposed to summer tires, whose gum stiffens and loses traction in winter.

2. Windshield wipers: better visibility for increased safety

Just like your tires, your wipers should be changed every other season. It’s preferable to opt for wipers that feature rubber, which will help keep snow and ice from accumulating on the blades. It is also recommended to change your wiper blades at the beginning of summer to avoid your winter ones getting damaged by the sun. And it’s always best to have a professional install them to maximize their effectiveness.

3. Washer fluid: keeping it from turning to ice

Any expert will tell you it’s crucial to keep your washer tank close to full (or full) all winter long. In winter, you’re likely to use your washer fluid quite often, so ideally, you’d keep a few extra bottles stashed in your trunk. Also ensure you choose a brand of washer fluid that provides freeze protection up to -40°C.

4. Winter survival kit: ready for anything

We recommend keeping an emergency winter survival kit in your car, to help you deal with any situation that may arise while driving:
- Ice scraper
- Snow brush
- Salt (for melting ice)
- Shovel
- Cell phone
- First aid kit
- Antifreeze
- Flashlight
- Car tool kit
- Light beacons
- Cables for recharging your battery - Warm clothes: a coat, gloves, blankets…

No one is safe from a potential car accident at night or on calmer roads. It’s best to be prepared!

5. Pre-winter and regular car check-ups: being consistent

It’s important to keep your vehicle well maintained regardless of the season. But before winter starts, there are even more items to get checked. When you go in for your inspection, make sure your battery and charging system are in good shape, as well as your car’s antifreeze and cooling system.

6. Tire pressure: a detail that can make a world of difference

Often neglected, your tire pressure is a fundamental element for driving safely in winter. For every 10° change in temperature, you cane experience a one (1) PSI gain or loss in tire pressure.

7. Gas tank: never let the fuel light come on

Try to keep your gas tank as full as possible during winter. Your car’s mechanics are put through a lot all season long, which requires more gas consumption. To avoid a situation like your car not starting, for example, don’t forget to fill up!

Lastly, here are a few more reminders before you get behind the wheel:

- Ensure to remove ice and snow on your car before driving. If you don’t, the consequences could be serious for you, as well as the other drivers on the road.
- Plan extra travel time when you get on the road, and always leave a little bit earlier than you usually would.
- Slow down. There is no need to speed!
- Try to keep a bigger distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Allow for more braking time.
- Always check the weather before leaving.
- If the roads seem dangerous, don’t take any chances. Stay home, instead!

Have a good and safe winter season!

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