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Is your car ready for the winter season?

Is your car ready for winter
Is your car ready for winter

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

October 18, 2011 — Police say preparing both your vehicle and yourself for the winter season ahead is crucial.

Mechanics suggest drivers invest in winter tires
Mechanics suggest drivers invest in winter tires

Temperatures are cooling and some places have already started to see snow. The countdown to the winter season is on, and officials are urging motorists to be prepared.

"When the weather changes, you have to adapt your driving behavior so you have a little extra time to react to things that you normally get a little complacent to reacting to," says Jill Blacklock, ICBC Road Safety Program Delivery Manager. “The types of things you want to do to make sure your car is ready, is have a full tank of gas, make sure your windshield wiper fluid is topped up, and that your tires are appropriate for the road that you're heading out to.”

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say it's never too early to install your winter tires. In fact, drivers are encouraged to change all four tires before the first major snowfall.

As soon as frost starts to cover the ground, driving conditions become extremely dangerous. The winter tire compound is stickier in lower temperatures where a summer tire is harder for traction on hot pavement.

Checking your car battery before the wintery conditions settle in isn't a bad idea either. Battery electrolytes evaporate in the hot sun even though they are sealed. An older battery doesn't have the cold crank capacity of a new one.

There are already signs of winter in parts of the country
There are already signs of winter in parts of the country

The changing seasons also have police on high alert. Authorities are warning drivers to start adjusting their habits on the roads as conditions can change quickly.

“As soon as the adverse weather starts it's important for us to number one, slow down...We need traction and visibility and the way to get traction in poor weather is to slow down,” says Joe Sears with Drive Wise.

Sears adds that leaving extra time when driving in poor conditions can help prevent accidents from occurring. Keeping your distance is another simple prevention method.

“We want extra room around our car incase something does happen and so there's more time to respond to that situation and then we don't have to make a quick reaction, which could cause us to lose control of our vehicle,” says Sears.

Here are some additional ways to prepare your car and yourself for the upcoming season.

  • Have an ice scraper or snow brush in your vehicle to keep your windows and lights clear.
  • Top up your windshield washer fluid.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full to prevent condensation in your gas tank.
  • Keep a fully stocked emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Have your vehicle serviced to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.

To stay up-to-date on the weather in your area, check out the Canadian Cities Index.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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