In many parts of Canada winter sticks around for a while. One of the adverse effects of the winter season is poor road conditions and with several more months of winter ahead, we recommend you be prepared. While you can never predict a roadside emergency, by taking a few proactive measures, you can prepare yourself for the temperaments of Mother Nature.
Cell phone charger and apps
Having a cell phone charger in your car is important in case your phone’s battery wears out. We also recommend you download emergency roadside apps and have phone numbers to essential services such as tow truck companies saved on your phone.
Winter tools and tricks
- A windshield scraper and brush, small shovel, toque and warm gloves make clearing away snow easier.
- Fill a spray bottle with -30 C windshield washer fluid and spray it on windows to make ice easier to remove.
- Carry a small bag of cat litter to gain traction in slippery spots. As an alternative, fire stations in some areas offer free sand that you can use for traction.
- Put together a vehicle tool kit containing a multi-tool, screwdriver and rags for roadside fixes.
- Warm blankets, candles (stored in a can) and a lighter or waterproof matches will help keep you warm.
- Bottled water and non-perishable food such as protein bars are recommended to help keep you hydrated and nourished.
- If you are wearing shoes instead of boots, store your boots in the car as opposed to in the trunk so they will be warm when you put them on.
- Recommended items include bandages, gauze, hand sanitizer, gloves and any medications you require.
- The Canadian Red Cross offers auto first-aid kits for purchase.
Safety and SOS equipment
- It is important to have light available. Pack a flashlight with extra batteries or include a windup flashlight. Consider purchasing a headlamp to help make roadside repairs easier.
- Flares, safety vests, S.O.S. signs and pylons will help rescuers or other drivers see you in poor conditions.
- Heavy-duty jumper cables, an extension cord for your block heater and a tow rope are recommended to have on hand.
- Having a non-flammable tire sealer and a portable car tire compressor can help you fix a flat tire.
Once your vehicle is equipped to deal with winter road conditions, check with your family and friends to make sure their vehicles are prepared as well. For further information, visit the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared site.
Don’t forget to make sure you have proper auto insurance protection. Contact a BrokerLink broker to review your auto insurance policy and ask any insurance-related questions you may have.