We are fast approaching some of the most hazardous driving times of the year – the holiday season. This happy season of joy, celebration and giving also sees a spike in distracted, impaired and unsafe driving charges. Driving during this season can be stressful for many; people are in a rush, there is more traffic on the roads, and poor weather conditions all combine to make the roads a little more complicated to navigate. However, with these great tips you will be prepared for safe winter driving during this holiday season.

1. Take your vehicle for a check-up.

Have your mechanic do a winter maintenance check including the brakes, HVAC system, fuel system and the exhaust too. An overall check and top up of all fluids is a good start to the winter driving season. Plus don’t forget to throw your ice scraper or snow brush in your car.

2. Install winter tires.

Now is the time. Not only do winter tires perform better on the roads in the winter, they also qualify you for an insurance discount. There is no better win-win. But make sure you have certified winter tires, all-season tires do not qualify for the discount and are not as safe in winter conditions.

a man shovelling his driveway

3. Keep your driveway clear of snow and ice.

It may surprise people how many accidents happen during the winter months right in the driveway. Whether it is your own driveway, or you are pulling into someone else’s, make sure it is cleared before doing so. Failure to do so can cause ice and snow build up that can become worse overtime.

4. Plan ahead. Slow down.

Check the forecast before you leave; expect delays and heavier traffic. Giving yourself extra time for your commute will allow you to slow down, giving you more time to turn, change lanes, and allows you to brake slowly – be prepared.

5. Share the road and watch for snowplows.

Keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Crowding on the winter roads increases the chances for a collision.

Pay special attention to snow plows. They are there to help make the roads safer – be patient and let them do their job. Never pass a snow plow – it is dangerous!

6. Pack emergency supplies.

Your supplies should include a blanket, non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, jumper cables, a shovel and a traction mat or sand. There is nothing worse than being stranded – especially in the middle of the cold winter. Having supplies can certainly help to get you through until help arrives. You can leave a kit in a safe area in your vehicle.

Don’t forget a brush, a scraper and windshield washer fluid effective to -40 degrees Celsius.

7. Clean your car before you drive.

Wake up a little bit earlier in the morning and clean your car off, do not start your drive with poor visibility. It always better to be late for work than it is to be in accident, you can tell your boss we said so. Don’t forget to remove the snow and ice from the roof of your car. This snow or ice can blow off your vehicle and can cause poor visibility or damage to other drivers on route. By the way failure to do so can result in a careless driving charge.

8. Never drive impaired.

The holiday cheer is full of family, fun and festivities, which brings with it food, friends and maybe a drink or two. Never get behind the wheel if you are impaired by any means. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or even while you are just too tired to drive puts your life and the lives of many others at risk. It just isn’t worth it! There are a ton of solutions for a safe drive home, including operation red nose.

operation red nose logo

This truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year – use these tips to help keep you and your loved ones and everyone else on the roads safer this holiday season.