not keep this information in your glove compartment?
travel by automobile can be serious business. Be prepared. If you do a lot of
winter driving in isolated regions, you might consider having a citizens' band
radio. *9-1-1 is a free call to police and ambulance on your cellular phone.
weather offices of Environment Canada issue warnings of impending blizzards, heavy
snow, freezing rain or drizzle, cold waves and winds.
The most perilous of winter storms, combining falling, blowing, drifting snow,
winds of 40 kilometres per hour or more, visibility less than 1 kilometre, temperatures
less than -10°C; duration: six hours or more.
Heavy snow 10 centimetres
or more in 12 hours, or 15 centimetres or more in 24 hours. Even less in temperate
rain or drizzle An ice storm coating roads, trees, overhead wires, etc with ice.
Cold wave A rapid fall in temperature in a short period, requiring greater-than-normal
Winds The cause of blizzard conditions, drifting, reduced
visibility and wind-chill effects.
ice Where the road ahead looks like black and shiny asphalt. Shaded areas of the
road, bridges and overpasses freeze sooner in cold weather, long after the sun
has come out.
a rule, it is a good idea to keep your gas tank almost full during the winter
and to have extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze on hand. You may want
to prepare two small emergency kits -- one to put in the trunk of your car and
the other in the cab of the car. The
trunk kit should include:
sand, or salt, kitty litter or other traction aids
chain and booster cables
extinguisher, warning light or flares
clothing, including mittens, hats and boots.
kit in the cab of the car should include:
candles (in a deep can to warm hands or heat a drink) and emergency food pack.
you do not already have a cellular telephone and if the cellular network works
in your area, you may want to consider having one with you in your car for emergencies.
that freezing rain, even just a little freezing rain, can make roads extremely
slippery. Driving is not recommended when freezing rain is forecast, or for several
hours after freezing rain ends, so that road maintenance crews have enough time
to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
you must travel during a winter storm, do so during the day and let someone know
your route and arrival time.
If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm,
remain calm and stay in your car. Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window
slightly on the sheltered side -- away from the wind. You can run the car engine
about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well. Beware
of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not
blocked with snow. (Remember: you can't smell potentially-fatal carbon monoxide
to keep your hands and feet warm, exercise them periodically. In general, it is
a good idea to keep moving to avoid falling asleep. If you do try to shovel the
snow from around your car, avoid overexerting yourself, as shovelling and bitter
cold can kill. Keep watch for traffic or searchers.
up your car
weather presents the greatest challenge to your car and its engine. Prepare for
winter by getting a complete check-up in the fall.
the following systems
system Your tune-up should include battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze,
oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition system.
Cold-weather starts require a fully charged battery. Recharge or replace weak
batteries. Check fluid levels, battery posts, voltage regulator, alternator or
Ignition system Damaged ignition wires, a cracked distributor cap
or worn spark plugs can make starting difficult or may cause a sudden breakdown.
Regularly check that all lights are functioning properly and that headlights are
To ensure even braking, brakes should be checked and, if needed, serviced. Pulling,
a taut pedal, or unusual squealing or grinding may indicate a need for repair.
Traction is the key to good movement, turning and stopping on wet surfaces. Check
the tires and tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold. Remember
that tire air pressure decreases in colder weather. Tires should be properly inflated
to the maximum pressure amount shown in the owner's manual or on the door frame.
Do not exceed pressure shown on the tire sidewall. Check your spare tire regularly.
Identical tires on all four wheels will improve vehicle handling. Mixing
tires with different tread patterns, internal construction and size degrades the
stability of the vehicle and should be avoided. Tires marked with the pictograph
of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow-traction performance
requirements and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
system Have the exhaust system fully checked for leaks that could send carbon
monoxide into your vehicle.
and cooling system Check your radiator and hoses for cracks and leaks. Make sure
the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat work properly. Test the strength of
the anti-freeze and test the functioning of the heater and defroster.
wipers and washer Make sure wipers are in good condition and fill up on winter
washer fluid. Blades that streak should be replaced. Make sure there is enough
windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and that it is rated in the -40°C
temperature range. Carry an extra jug in the vehicle.
you must drive in bad weather, think caution, plan ahead and make sure you have
enough fuel. Try to keep the fuel tank at least half-full.
- Be alert, well-rested
and sober behind the wheel. Check mirrors and environment controls before you
forget to wear your seat belt and to ensure all children are correctly positioned
in appropriate child car seats and booster seats. Children aged 12 and under should
ride properly buckled up in the back seat.
and be seen. Clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all
windows of fog. If visibility becomes poor, find a place to safely pull off the
road as soon as possible. It's best to stop at a rest area or exit the roadway
and go to a protected area.
the roadside is your only option, pull off the road as far as you can. Other drivers
frequently strike vehicles parked at the side of the road. In reduced visibility,
you should make sure your emergency flashers are on to alert other drivers.
weather and travel conditions before heading out. Give yourself extra time for
travel and, if weather is bad, wait for conditions to improve. Plan your route
and let someone know which way you'll be travelling, your destination and expected
arrival time, especially when driving long distances. If you don't turn up after
a reasonable delay, people will know where to search for you. If the going gets
tough, turn back or seek refuge.
to keep to the main roads and drive with caution, measuring your speed to road
and weather conditions.
passing another vehicle, if possible, when weather and road conditions are bad.
warm clothes that do not restrict movement.
a good idea to take a cellphone with you. It can be very valuable, especially
in an emergency or if you need help. But don't talk and drive. Drivers should
not use a cellphone while the vehicle is in motion. Let a passenger call for you
or pull over to a safe spot to place a call for assistance.
Canadian Automobile Association recommends the following items be kept in the
trunk of your car.
or cat litter
or roll of paper towels
light or road flares
clothing and footwear
scraper and brush
and a "survival" candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or
use as an emergency light)
windshield washer fluid
you get trapped in a storm or snow-bank, don't panic!
overexertion and exposure. Shovelling and bitter cold can kill. Stay in your car.
You won't get lost and you'll have shelter.
fresh air in your car. Open a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
your motor sparingly. Beware of exhaust fumes and the possibility of carbon monoxide.
Ensure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow.
the candle for heat, instead of the car's heater, if possible.
out a warning light or flares. Put on the dome light. (Overuse of headlights may
run your battery down.)
your limbs vigorously. Keep moving and don't fall asleep. Keep watch for traffic
a hat, as you can lose up to 60 percent of your body heat through your head.
control of your vehicle to avoid collisions
collisions can occur when your vehicle skids. Remember that not all vehicles respond
in the same way to icy, slippery roads. You must know how to handle your vehicle
and how it responds in various weather conditions. Consult your owner's manual
and familiarize yourself with your vehicle's braking system and tire traction.
You may want to consider taking a driver education course that teaches emergency
Skids can best be avoided by driving for conditions,
slowing down, allowing extra time to get to your destination and anticipating
lane changes, turns and curves. Also recommended: slow down in advance, make smooth,
precise movements of the steering wheel, be sensitive to how your vehicle is steering.
Even careful and experienced drivers experience skids. Don't panic! Learn
to handle skids and remember that, sometimes, the vehicle will skid a second and
even third time after the initial skid.
the rear wheels lose traction, use these steps to regain control after a skid:
1. Take your foot off the brake if the rear wheels skid due to hard or panic
2. Ease off the gas pedal if the rear wheels lose traction due to
hard acceleration (rear-wheel drive).
3. Shift to neutral.
4. Look down the road in the direction
you want the front of the car to go; be sensitive to the feel of the car and how
it is responding to your steering.
5. To regain control of the vehicle, steer
gently in the direction of the skid of the rear of the vehicle. Just before the
skid ends, bring the front wheels straight. Sometimes the vehicle will skid in
the opposite direction, so you may have to repeat the movement until the vehicle
6. Once the vehicle is straight, return to a driving gear and
accelerate gently so that engine speed matches road speed.
skids are caused by hard braking or acceleration and by entering a curve too fast.
When the front wheels lose traction, you lose steering ability. The best way to
regain control if the front wheels skid is:
1. If the front wheels skid from
hard braking, release the brake. If the wheels spin from loss of traction due
to acceleration, ease off on the accelerator (front-wheel drive).
3. If the front wheels have been turned prior to the loss of
traction, don't move the steering wheel. Since the wheels are skidding sideways,
a certain amount of braking force will be extended.
4. Wait for the front
wheels to grip the road again. When traction returns, you'll regain steering control.
5. Return to a driving gear and gently steer in the direction you want to
travel. Gently accelerate until engine speed matches road speed.
all four wheels lose traction -- generally at high speeds under adverse conditions.
The most effective way to get your vehicle back under control when all four wheels
survive on the road in winter, proper braking is essential.
1. Remove your foot from the brake or accelerator.
3. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the
car to go.
4. Wait for the wheels to grip the road again. As soon as the
wheels regain traction, you will travel in the direction you want to go.
5. Return to a driving gear and maintain a safe speed. NOTE: Avoid using overdrive
on slippery surfaces.ing
- Stopping on a
slippery surface requires more space, so increase your following distance.
your attention as far ahead as possible.
best way to stop on a slippery surface is to use threshold or controlled braking
and shift to neutral. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, the best way to use
threshold or controlled braking is to keep the heel of your foot on the floor
and use your toes to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Stop just
short of locking the wheels.
your heel leaves the floor, the ball of your foot pushes the pedal. The wheels
lock because you're controlling the brake with your thigh muscles which are incapable
of finer control.
the stress of trying to stop quickly, drivers almost inevitably over-react and
lock the wheels. If this happens, release brake pressure one or two degrees, then
immediately reapply it with slightly less pressure.
Anti-lock brakes are
designed to prevent wheels from locking and allow continued steering control during
panic braking. Sensors located at wheels detect lock-up. The anti-lock system
relieves enough pressure to allow the wheel to turn, maintaining steering control.
not remove your foot from the brake or pump the pedal. If you apply too much brake
pressure and the wheels lock momentarily, you might feel the brake pedal pulse
back against your foot. Pumping the pedal works against the system by providing