Published: December 7, 2020

While staying home right now is recommended as the best way to avoid the new big “C,” there’s another C we need to keep in mind when we do have to hit the road – Celsius.

Colder temperatures and the snow that tends to fall in buckets these days, require a few adjustments to our driving habits. Getting there safe is the most important thing, so here are our top 12 winter driving tips.



In the fall (or asap!):

Switch to winter tires – Unless you live in an area that never gets snow or dips below 4o C, installing four matching winter tires that are in good shape is the safest. It’s also the law on some highways.

Replace windshield washer fluid – Some washer fluids do not contain antifreeze, which is essential in colder temperatures. If you don’t have the antifreeze in there, the washer fluid will freeze to the windshield and totally obscure your view.

Pack an emergency kit – A bag of sand or salt, a small shovel, and warm clothes will help you get through most city driving difficulties; but, if you do any highway driving or travel through remote areas, you should also pack non-perishable food, water, a candle in a deep can, matches, a blanket, flashlight, first aid kit, and bright coloured or reflective flag. A battery charger for your phone is also a great idea.

Before you leave:

Give yourself extra time – Whether you’re travelling in the city or making a long distance trek, leave early enough to have extra time on the road. Safe winter driving means slowing down much more often.

Tell someone – If you’re going to be out of high traffic areas, let someone you’re your planned route and expected time of arrival.

Clean off the vehicle – It’s really important to you and those around you that you clean off all ice and snow from your vehicle. Once you start driving, the cab heats up and the ice and snow will either fall down onto your windshield or off the back, potentially onto someone else’s. In some provinces, you could also get a fine.

Gas up – Some trips can take way longer than you planned, so you don’t want to run out of gas. Also make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid.

Things to keep in mind:

Conditions are worse around freezing – Black ice usually forms between plus and minus 4o C. Slow down and use extra caution on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas. Also remember that snow and ice are more slippery at 0°C than at -20°C or below.

Don’t use cruise control – Cruise control is great for perfect summer driving conditions, but a really bad idea if the road is wet, snowy, or icy. You want to be in complete control of your vehicle.

On the road:

Slow starts, slow stops – Start out slowly and give yourself plenty of time to slow down before you need to stop. Make sure you have enough space to change lanes smoothly. Jerky movements or trying to accelerate or brake quickly can cause skidding. Leave plenty of space between you and vehicle ahead. Stay well back of any maintenance units spreading salt or sand, and don’t drive beside them.

If you need to stop fast –If you have anti-locking brakes (known as ABS), keeping your heel on the floor, press down hard on the brake pedal and don’t let up until you stop. You may hear a lot of chattering type noise, but this is just the braking system doing its job. If you don’t have anti-locking brakes, keeping your heel on the floor, press the brake pedal down firmly but not all the way to the floor; ease up a bit, then press down firmly again. Repeat until you’ve stopped.

If you start to skid – Don’t brake, don’t accelerate, and don’t over correct. That’s a lot of don’ts, so what you do want to do is take your foot off the pedals, look ahead to where you want to go, and steer in that direction. When you straightened out on the road again, you can accelerate, but start slow.

Stay safe out there!




Ameri-Can Logistics Ltd. is a trucking company servicing shipping ports, railroad depots, and communities throughout North America. Operating 24/7/365 with continuous dispatch services, businesses have relied on Ameri-Can to distribute their products to buyers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, for three decades.

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