As we anticipate winter’s blustery arrival, CAA Manitoba is one group reminding Manitobans to take the time now to prepare their vehicle and themselves.
“People often wait until the first snowfall before getting their vehicle ready to drive in winter conditions,” says Elisha Dacey, communications manager for CAA Manitoba. “Preparing now means your vehicle will be as safe as it can be when the cold weather comes,” she adds, “so we’ve prepared a Top 10 list to help you get started.”
"The biggest one that CAA Manitoba deals with every year is batteries," she says. "Right now is the time to get your battery tested to make sure that it is going to get you through those cold winter months. Especially when we get into the deep freeze, when we have a week or two of very cold weather temperatures, that is when your vehicle battery is going to decide it doesn't want to start anymore. So, if your battery is 3 years or older, its a good idea to have it tested. We suggest that people ask their mechanic to test it while they're getting their winter tires put on."
Dacey says we need to remember that we're all getting used to the winter driving, even if we have winter tires, but we need to extra careful when travelling in and around other vehicles.
"So, give yourself some time to get to your destination, and do understand that it could take a little bit longer than normal to stop. And when it does start snowing in the next few days, it's going to be slick, we sometimes forget how to drive, it takes a bit to remember. So, give yourself and the other motorists around you that little bit of compassion."
Most winter driving tips are common sense, however you never know when an emergency may arise. And when it does, certain things can become very handy, and in some cases, even life saving.
TOP 10 READY FOR WINTER DRIVING TIPS:
- Install winter tires for better traction on cold and snowy roads.
- Have your battery tested and replace it before it fails.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit that includes water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, batteries, waterproof matches, candles, a small shovel, and kitty litter.
- Have your brakes checked and serviced if needed.
- Make sure where you park your vehicle is prepared – is your outdoor plug drawing power? Is your extension cord working with no missing prongs or exposed wires
- Have a family member or friend watch as you flick your vehicle and signal lights on and off to ensure they are working correctly.
- Top up your windshield washer fluid and any other fluids that are getting low.
- Get an oil change if needed with your favorite shop.
- Remove worn wiper blades and replace them with new ones.
- Ensure you have an ice scraper in your vehicle.
While it’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready to go, it’s also important for drivers and passengers to be prepared, in case of an emergency or if you are stranded.
Some additional ways to be prepared include:
- Have a cell phone battery bank and keep it on you, as well as a charging cable that connects your phone to your vehicle. Make sure your phone is charged when travelling.
- Consider adding extra mitts, hats and socks and footwear to your emergency kit.
- Check here for road conditions and closures if you head out into a rural area.
- Always tell your loved ones where you plan to go and your planned route before you leave on a longer trip in your vehicle.
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