Although we don't want to admit it, Winter weather is just around the corner, and so is Winter driving. The cold season takes it toll on vehicles in Alberta, so it's important to think ahead and to stay safe during the next few months.
One of the most important things to do first, is to ensure that every vehicle you drive has an emergency kit. Keep in mind to have enough for everyone in the vehicle.
These kits can be purchased from many department stores, or it's easy enough to make your own.
Experts in the auto industry say the basic necessities include warm blankets, hats, touques and mittens for the driver and all passengers. As well, the Alberta Motor Association has a handy list of crucial pieces to remember:
Make sure your battery is charged
Another problem in cold weather is your battery. Before it gets really cold make sure you battery has enough charge and that your cable connections are in good shape. Any battery three years or older should get checked.
Plug-in your vehicle
Although you may get different opinions on this, the general rule of thumb is if the temperature goes below -18 then you should plug in your vehicle at home and at work if it is sitting there for long periods of time. To save on power bills, a timer can be easily purchased at most hardware stores.
Use synthetic Oil
Synthetic oil is designed to help your vehicle start in winter. It is less thick than regular oil, which reduces the amount of power needed to turn over your engine. Always check your owner's manual, or with your mechanic, to see what is the right grade of oil for your vehicle.
Use Winter Tires
Winter tires use a rubber compound that is less stiff and more flexible in colder temperatures. This helps to ensure a good grip on Winter roads. A good rule of thumb on when to install Winter tires is the "Rule of 7". It says if the temperature stays below 7 degrees for 7 days or more, then it's time to change your tires.
Plan ahead before a trip
Before you head out, always check for the latest road conditions and weather reports. Plan on taking extra time on your trip in case of bad conditions. Let someone else know your travel plans and estimated times of arrival.