October is Car Safety Month and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds Canadians there are things you can do now to ensure you and your vehicle are ready for winter weather.
"Canadian winters can be challenging for drivers," says Lindsay Olson, Vice President, BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with IBC. "Planning ahead and taking the time to make sure you know what to do when driving in winter conditions and ensuring your vehicle is mechanically sound before the temperature dips could save your life," adds Olson.
Here are some tips that will help drivers avoid the dangers of winter driving:
1. Tune-up your car by getting a complete checkup in the fall. Your tune-up should include battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers, ignition system and tires.
2. Check the tires and tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold.
3. Ensure that your windshield is free of dings and cracks. Cold temperatures can turn a small ding in your windshield into a major crack.
4. Keep the gas tank at least half full, decreasing the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.
5. Check to see that lights work and headlights are properly aimed. The end of Daylight Savings Time in the fall results in earlier nightfall and more nighttime driving.
6. Keep a Winter Survival Kit in the trunk or your vehicle.
7. Heed the warnings from local weather offices of Environment Canada of impending blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain or drizzle, cold waves and winds, and black ice.
8. On the road, if you must drive in bad weather, think caution, plan ahead and make sure you have enough fuel.
9. Always keep a road map, flashlight, first-aid kit and blanket in your vehicle.
10. Consider having a citizens band radio if you do a lot of winter driving in isolated regions. *9-1-1 is a free call to police and ambulance on your cellphone.