If this winter is going to be anything like the last it is important to get your vehicle ready. The weather can change quickly and we need to prepare for the unpredictable driving conditions.
When we think of safety on the road, we think of air bags, maintaining focus, and the safety ratings of our vehicles. We often forget that we are in control of one of the key aspects of our vehicles that keep us safe: tires. Tires help with traction, steering, stability, breaking and general handling. As all of these components of driving are essential to our safety on the roads, not having the appropriate tires can be catastrophic.
In Quebec they require that all vehicles by law have winter tires installed by December 15 but we have yet to adopt this law in Nova Scotia. Winter tires are effective when the temperature cools down below 7 degrees. They have thick tread that helps give you the traction you need to get through slush and snow. Regardless of apparent wear, tires should be changed at least every 6 years.
Here is some important information on ways to ensure safer driving this winter:
Before the weather hits.
- Get your winter tires installed;
- Check or have a garage check your car battery;
- Check your wiper blades;
- Pack a folding shovel and winter survival kit in the trunk. This kit should include a flashlight, sand for traction, booster cables, batteries, food, water, blanket and a set of hat and mitts.
Throughout the winter.
- Completely clear all snow off the hood, roof and windows of your car;
- Keep your windshield washer fluid topped up;
- Always make sure your cell phone is fully charged;
- Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go;
- Keep your gas tank full. This will prevent the gas lines from freezing.
During a bad storm it is best to stay off the road or use public transit. If you must venture out then ensure your car is completely cleaned off, give yourself lots of time, slow down and increase your following distance. Always keep up to date with weather and driving conditions in your area.
David S.R. Parker is a Partner that practices in the area of Personal Injury Law. If you have questions connect with David by phone (902) 460-3447 or email [email protected].