As we anticipate winter’s blustery arrival, CAA Manitoba is asking Manitobans to take the time now to prepare their vehicle and themselves.
“People often wait until the first snowfall before getting their vehicle ready to drive in winter conditions,” says Elisha Dacey, communications manager for CAA Manitoba. “Preparing now means your vehicle will be as safe as it can be when the cold weather comes,” says Dacey, “so we’ve prepared a Top 10 list to help you get started.”
CAA Manitoba has a list of several things you can do to prepare yourself and your vehicle for winter driving.
"The biggest one that CAA Manitoba deals with every year is batteries," she says. "Right now, is the time to get your battery tested to make sure that it is going to get you through those cold winter months! Especially when we get into the deep freeze when we have a week or two of very cold weather temperatures, that is when your vehicle battery is going to decide it doesn't want to start anymore. So, if your battery is 3 years or older, its a good idea to have it tested. We suggest that people ask their mechanic to test it while they're getting their winter tires put on!"
Dacey says we need to remember that we're all getting used to the winter driving, even if we have winter tires, but we need to extra careful when travelling in and around other vehicles. One thing Dacey does note is that with colder weather we've got colder tires and our tires don't grip as well, especially all-season tires as they don't grip as well, as opposed to winter tires.
"So, give yourself some time to get to your destination, and do understand that it could take a little bit longer than normal to stop. And when it does start snowing in the next few days, it's going to be slick, and we all forget how to drive, it takes a bit to remember. So, remember to give yourself and the other motorists around you that little bit of compassion."
TOP 10 READY FOR WINTER DRIVING TIPS:
- Install winter tires for better traction on cold and snowy roads – Members can call CAA before Nov. 15 to have our mobile tire service change them for you at home for a fee
- Have your battery tested and replace it before it fails. CAA Manitoba will test Members’ batteries for as part of a service call.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit that includes water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, batteries, waterproof matches, candles, a small shovel, and kitty litter.
- Have your brakes checked and serviced if needed.
- Make sure where you park your vehicle is prepared – is your outdoor plug drawing power? Is your extension cord working with no missing prongs or exposed wires
- Have a family member or friend watch as you flick your vehicle and signal lights on and off to ensure they are working correctly.
- Top up your windshield washer fluid and any other fluids that are getting low.
- Get an oil change.
- Remove worn wiper blades and replace them with new ones.
- Ensure you have an ice scraper in your vehicle.
While it’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready to go, it’s also important for drivers and passengers to be prepared, in case of an emergency or if you are stranded.
Being a CAA member ensures you're a quick call away of getting help if in trouble, however given any day, especially in heavy snowfall or stormy days, their call centre could be very busy, and help might take a bit longer to get to you. Dacey says be prepared at all times, even if you know the tow truck is coming!
'When we have a higher volume of calls, it's really, really so important to have that emergency kit with you, just to make sure that you will be safe and warm while we're coming to rescue you. And don't forget that even if you're not the one driving, if you're a passenger you could be stranded as well so make sure you're wearing warm boots, warm clothing, mitts and hats."
"And of course, my favorite tip is always making sure your cell phone is charged," adds Dacey, "and consider in investing in a battery bank or an extra battery for your cell phone, as well as a charging cord in your vehicle."
Some additional ways to be prepared include:
- Have a cell phone battery bank and keep it on you, as well as a charging cable that connects your phone to your vehicle.
- Download and register for the CAA app and keep your CAA membership card in your wallet or vehicle so you always know how to contact CAA Manitoba if you are stranded.
- Consider adding extra mitts, hats and socks and footwear to your emergency kit.
- Check www.Manitoba 511.ca for road conditions and closures if you head out into a rural area.
- Always tell your loved ones where you plan to go and your planned route before you leave on a longer trip in your vehicle.
“At CAA Manitoba, Member safety is our number one priority,” says Dacey. “There’s still time to make sure you, your loved ones and your vehicle are ready to drive safely this winter.”
Please listen to more with Elisha Dacey below as she gives more tips on staying safe while driving on winter roads!
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