Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and bitter cold: these are all conditions that can make driving difficult and even dangerous during cold weather months. Winter also brings an increased risk of getting stuck in your car, so dress warmly before heading out. Follow these tips to learn about winter driving risks and prepare an emergency kit for your car.
If you are stuck in the snow
- Try to stay calm and don’t go out in the cold. Stay in your car. You will avoid getting lost and your car is a safe shelter.
- Don’t tire yourself out. Shoveling in the intense cold can be deadly.
- Let in fresh air by opening a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
- Keep the engine off as much as possible. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not obstructed by snow.
- If possible, use a candle placed inside a deep can instead of the car heater to warm up.
- Turn on warning lights or set up road flares to make your car visible.
- Turn on the ceiling light. Leaving your headlights or hazard lights on for too long will drain the battery.
- Move your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation. Stay awake.
- Keep an eye out for other cars and emergency responders. Try to keep clothing dry since wet clothing can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat.
Prepare an emergency car kit
Always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic car kit should contain the following:
- Food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars
- Water—plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
- Extra clothing and shoes or boots
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
- Candle in a deep can and matches
- Wind‑up flashlight
- Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
- Copy of your emergency plan
Items to keep in your trunk:
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
- Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Warning light or road flares
Another tip is to print this article and then cross items off the list as you put them in your car.
Article source: Public Safety Canada