Winter driving safety—what gear to carry in your car
Do you remember the TV series MacGyver about the super smart military veteran, Angus MacGyver, who could turn any simple object into some kind of tool that would ultimately save the world and everyone’s lives? His unconventional problem-solving abilities not only made him a household name in the 80s and to this day, but he’s even become a verb, “I like the way you ‘MacGyvered’ that!”.
Well, not all of us are MacGyvers or can ‘MacGyver’. And when it comes to winter driving, it’s important to carry around some actual tools and roadside emergency items that may come in handy should you find yourself in a winter driving situation.
To help keep you safe, here’s a list of winter driving items our very own BCAA Auto Service team suggests we all carry in our cars in addition to your BCAA Membership card:
- Roadside Emergency Kit—you can get pre-made kits at a retail store which also include a reflective safety vest, reflective roadside equipment such as cones and battery jumper cables.
- Shovel—sometimes it takes just a little bit of shovelling to get your car out of some snow.
- Windshield Scraper and Snow Brush
- Flashlight with Fully Charged Batteries
- Highly Visible Winter Outerwear (i.e. warm clothes, winter boots, gloves and reflective vest) in case you have to get out of your car.
- Blanket and Supply of Non-Perishable Food and Water—in case something happens and you have to wait for assistance.
- First-Aid Kit
- Mobile Phone Car Charger or a Portable Battery Charger
- Spare Container of Winter-Grade Washer Fluid—you don’t want to run out of this, especially if you’ll be driving longer distances and in areas where it’s not easy to find a gas station or automotive shop.
- A Pair of Sunglasses—when it's sunny, the glare from icy or wet roads can be blinding.
- Winter Tire Chains—if you’ll be driving through snow-bound mountain passes, carry correctly sized tire chains for your tires. Some retail stores allow you to try the chains out in their parking lot to ensure they fit. Practice installing the chains when you’re at home so you don’t have to figure it out at the roadside in the middle of winter.
- Keep Your Gas Tank Topped Up – Ensure your vehicle has more than half a tank of gas at all times.