Take the time to prepare for winter driving

By Tyler J. Moffitt
The Safety Advocate

Winter has come early to some parts of Canada. Some of us have had to shovel snow already while others have not.
Before I venture out in my vehicle, I like to do my pre-trip ritual by brushing off the vehicle of snow and/or scraping the windshield, as well as starting it well in advance so I have excellent visibility when driving.
My wife is the lucky one as her vehicle is in our garage.
In my daily travels over the years, I’ve come across many vehicles whose drivers obviously put forth very little effort in clearing the windows of their vehicle. On many occasions, I’ve seen numerous drivers who have cleared a little area of their front windshield—just enough so they can peek out of it.
Sometimes, the same small area on the side windows also has been cleared while the rear window remained completely covered in snow.
Some drivers also give themselves an extra challenge by multi-tasking … by talking on their cellphones or looking at it while trying to dial a number and/or read or send a text message, as well as practising for their future NASCAR career.
Many people’s vehicles are not winter ready. But there are some simple things you can do now:
•Visibility
Check your windshield wiper reservoir tank. Some vehicles reservoir tank may be empty or filled with summer windshield wiper fluid, which freezes.
Inspect the condition of your wiper blades for wear and cracking as they may be in need of replacement.
Give yourself extra time to safely prepare your vehicle before venturing out by ensuring all areas of your vehicle’s windows are clear, as well as ensuring snow is cleared from the front hood of your engine and/or trunk or box cover of your truck.
•Tires
Are your tires’ treads in good condition, as well as the correct tire pressure? Looking at my vehicle’s owner manual, it states to check tires once a month or more, as well as the spare.
My owner’s manual also states when it is time for new tires. Take the time to check the condition of your vehicle’s tires and read your owner’s manual.
Just a note: It is recommended by the tire experts to think about having winter tires installed during the winter season.
•Emergencies
Just last month in one part of Nova Scotia, some storm-struck travellers spent the night on the highway. Well over 1,000 vehicles were stranded—some for up to 14 hours—with no food or water!
If you were stranded like these unfortunate travellers, would you be prepared?
The Public Safety Division of Canada developed an Emergency Preparedness Guide back in 2007. In the guide are some valuable tips, especially what to include in a basic emergency kit for your home as well as your vehicle.
•Get prepared
Read the emergency preparedness guide if you still have it (your local fire and rescue service may have additional copies).
For those of you with computers, or those of you who know someone who has a computer, go to www.GetPrepared.ca and take the time to read the emergency preparedness guide.
We, as Canadians, need to take responsibility for our health and safety now—and take care of what we have!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.

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