Are you ready for winter?

Winter is at our doorstep, and you’ve pulled out your cold-weather armour—warm coat, waterproof boots, tuque, scarf, and mittens. You’ve got everything you need to face the frigid temperatures ahead, but what about your home and car? Here are a few tips to help you get through the cold season without any nasty surprises.

One of the most frequent causes of claims in winter is road accidents. Here are tips to help avoid them:

Adjust your driving to winter road conditions

The best way to stay safe on the roads in winter is to adjust your driving. Start by brushing all the snow off your car—it may be tedious, but it’s essential for safe winter driving. Avoid sudden stops and turns, as they increase the risk of skids and collisions. And because it takes longer to brake on icy or snow-covered roads, be sure to maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. To recap: lower your speed, drive carefully, and remember to turn on your headlights, even in the daytime, to ensure you’re visible on the roads.

Winterize your car

Your car is equipped with winter tires, the windshield washer fluid reservoir has been topped up and the wipers are working perfectly, the battery is fully charged, the oil has been changed, and the snow brush and shovel are in the trunk. You’re off to a great start! Now here are some other items you should have in your car when the deep freeze hits:

  •      First aid kit
  •      Blankets and warm clothing
  •      Mobile phone and charger
  •      Flashlight
  •      Snacks
  •      Jumper cables
  •      Traction aids

To learn more, check out Stay safe: seven must-have items to keep in your car this winter.

When the forecast calls for a cold front or a snowstorm, plan ahead by filling up your gas tank or by keeping a gas can safely stored in your trunk.

Fact or fiction?
Gasoline can freeze if the tank is nearly empty

    The freezing point of gasoline is -60 °C, making it highly unlikely that the gas in your car’s tank will freeze, even in extremely cold temperatures. Diesel, on the other hand, is a little less hardy—it can withstand temperatures as low as -15 °C or -20 °C. In short, by keeping your gas tank full during the winter months, you’ll reduce the risk of condensation, which can cause your gas line to freeze.

Prevent plumbing mishaps

Water leaks are another common cause of claims. Here are a few precautions you can take to avoid unpleasant situations.

Insulate any pipes that are susceptible to freezing in winter, and be sure to block out drafts around windows and doors. If your pipes still freeze due to intense cold, warm them up with a hair dryer or hot towels. No luck? Then it’s time to call a plumber—they have the right tools to fix the problem.

Leaving on vacation? Take the time to drain the water from your toilets and showers, and cut the water supply. If you’ll only be gone for a few days, let your faucets drip—that should help prevent the pipes from freezing.

Read more: Tips to help winter travellers protect their homes.

Handy tips in case of extreme weather conditions

  • Always keep reserves of drinking water and non-perishable food.
  • Equip your home and car with a first aid kit.
  • Keep candles and matches on hand.
  • Always have a flashlight and extra batteries at the ready.
  • Get a portable charger for your mobile phone.
  • If you use a wood-burning stove or a space heater, make sure the room is well ventilated to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Sources
Autonet – Préparer sa voiture pour l’hiver, c’est plus que des pneus: http://www.autonet.ca/fr/2016/11/11/voici-comment-bien-preparer-sa-voiture-pour-lhiver (in French only)
Canadian Safety Council – Winter Driving Tips: https://canadasafetycouncil.org/winter-driving-tips/
The Newswheel – Fact or Myth: Can Your Car’s Gasoline Freeze if Its Level Is Low?: http://thenewswheel.com/fact-or-myth-can-your-cars-gasoline-freeze-if-its-level-is-low/
La Presse – Questions et réponses sur l’hiver: https://auto.lapresse.ca/conseils/201109/12/01-4445542-questions-et-reponses-sur-lhiver.php (in French only)
Holts Auto – Comment les températures hivernales affectent elles votre carburant? https://www.holtsauto.com/fr/actualites/temperatures-hivernales-affectent-carburant/ (in French only)
Ville de Montréal – Frozen Water Pipes: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=8297,140897662&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL