We are excited for winter and love getting our guests outside in the snow but driving in the white stuff can take a little extra time and care to make sure you make your way to Blue Mountain safely. Provincial Constable Paul Nancekivell, Media Officer for the Dufferin County OPP, shares a few driving tips to consider before you pack up your skis or snowboard and hit the road to the mountain.
Know Where your’e Going
- Before you head outside, take the time to know your route. Especially on the way to Blue Mountain, some back roads and smaller highways can be hard to navigate in blowing snow. You can find directions to Blue Mountain here. Make sure to plan an alternate route in case of road closures and be prepared to take extra time as road conditions in the Blue Mountain area can be very different than city conditions.
See and Be Seen
- With decreased visibility, your vehicle lights and turn signals are going to be more important than ever. Have someone help you check that your taillights, brake lights, headlights, turn signals and emergency flashers are working properly.
- Using your snowbrush and/or ice scraper on your windshield and mirrors is second nature to most Canadians, but most neglect their front and back lights, front air intake grill and roof. It’s important to ensure visibility is never obstructed and that your car can properly take in air. Removing snow from the roof ensures that it won’t fly off while driving and obstruct the view of the driver behind you.
Wipe that Windshield
- Again, ensuring you have good visibility is integral to staying safe while driving through heavy snowfall. Ensure your heater, front and rear defrosters are all working properly.
- Top up your windshield washer fluid and use one that includes antifreeze. Running out of washer fluid while you’re on the road could be dangerous, so always keep a spare container in your trunk.
Top it Up
- Condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank in extremely cold temperatures, and this can cause fuel line freeze-up and no-start conditions. To avoid this, always ensure your gas tank is above half-full and add a can of fuel injection gasoline antifreeze every 3-4 fill-ups.
- Never going below half-full will ensure you have plenty of gas to run your car and heater in the case of an emergency. But always remember to crack the window a little to keep fresh air coming in.
Tires and Brakes
- Good winter tires are one of the best ways to improve traction, stability and control during winter driving, but they’re often overlooked when prepping for the season. Click here for our Winter Tire guide.
- Ensure you have four identical tires, especially if your vehicle is front-wheel-drive (they’re more prone to rear-wheel skidding). But even if your car is 4 or rear-wheel –drive, four identical tires will always help them perform better, especially on slippery roads.
Even Your Car Needs Winter Gear
- Perform a monthly check for proper inflation pressure on all tires including your spare. Tires regularly lose pressure every month (this is normal), but if they dip below recommended levels, you should top them up as soon as possible. You can usually find tire pressure information on the inside of the driver’s door.
- Your brakes and suspension components should be inspected once a year or every 20,000km. If your mechanic discovers any defective or worn out components, you should have them replaced immediately.
- Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged before the season hits. If the charge is weak, your battery likely won’t make it through the cold winter.