As we start to see winter’s blustery arrival, Manitobans should take the time now to prepare their vehicles 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,” says Dacey.
"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, it's 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 winter driving, even if we have winter tires, but we need to be extra careful when travelling in and around other vehicles. One thing Dacey does note is that with colder weather we've got colder tires, and our tires don't grip as well, especially all-season tires as they don't grip as well, as opposed to winter tires.
"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, and we all forget how to drive, it takes a bit to remember. So, remember to give yourself and the other motorists around you that little bit of compassion."
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.
- 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.
'When we have a higher volume of calls, it's really, really so important to have that emergency kit with you, just to make sure that you will be safe and warm while we're coming to rescue you. And don't forget that even if you're not the one driving, if you're a passenger you could be stranded as well so make sure you're wearing warm boots, warm clothing, mitts and hats."
"And of course, my favorite tip is always making sure your cell phone is charged," adds Dacey, "and consider in investing in a battery bank or an extra battery for your cell phone, as well as a charging cord in your vehicle."