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Winter has arrived in North America

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Winter has arrived in North America Time to fit your winter tyres and prepare your vehicle for winter.

Time to fit your winter tyres and prepare your vehicle for winter.

What makes the difference between an ordinary driver and a good one?

  • An ordinary driver reacts to the road situations
  • A good driver anticipates crises and avoids them

How should you prepare a vehicle for driving under winter conditions?
Driving in winter weather – snow, ice, wet and cold – creates a great challenge for vehicles and drivers. Keeping your vehicle in good technical repair reduces your overall chances for any mishap or disaster while driving – particularly in winter weather. To prepare your vehicle for winter driving give it a complete check-up. Look for the following:

  • The traction between tyres and roadway determines how well a vehicle rides, turns and stops, and is crucial for safe driving in winter. Proper tyre selection is very important.
  • Use all-season radial tyres only in areas that receive light snowfall
  • Use snow tyres in areas that receive heavy snowfall
  • Use chains on all four wheels when you expect severe snow and icy roads. Check with your local Department or Ministry of Transportation office to see if the use of tyre chains is legal in the region through which you are planning to drive.
  • Check tyre pressure and if necessary restore it to levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. The pressure drops about 1 psi for every 5°C (9°F) drop in temperature.
  • Do not mix radial tyres with other types
  • Check tyre balance and correct if necessary
  • Check wheel alignment and correct if necessary

Electrical system

  • Battery – recharge or replace if the battery is weak. Also have the charging system checked.
  • Ignition – check for damaged ignition wires and cracks in the distributor cap
  • Lights – check all lights (headlights, sidelights, emergency flashers, directional lights, tail lights, brake lights and parking lights) to ensure they function properly


  • Check brakes and adjust to ensure equal braking

Exhaust system

  • Check the exhaust system for leaks. A properly sealed exhaust system reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep the window in your vehicle slightly open when you're stuck in snow, and run the engine and heater to keep warm
  • Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. A blocked pipe can force carbon monoxide back into the car interior.

Heating/cooling system

  • Check the radiator and hoses for leaks
  • Ensure that your vehicle always has a sufficient amount of antifreeze rated for the coldest weather
  • Check the defrosters (front and back) to make sure they are working efficiently

Windshield wipers

  • Ensure that windshield wipers function efficiently. Replace them if they are old and worn.
  • Fill the washer container with an antifreeze fluid and top it up frequently


  • Fill up the fuel tank before you leave on your trip
  • Do not let the fuel level get too low – the driving time to the next gas station may take much longer than you expect, and if you get stuck, the car engine will be your only source of heat

Think Safe, Stay Safe

About the authors

Aoife Murphy