Volkswagen Magazine

Winter is coming.

While it won’t last an entire generation (à la Game of Thrones), it can certainly feel that way sometimes. But there’s no reason why you should hide in your basement when Northern winds start to blow. Outdoor adventures await! There are plenty of easy ways you can ensure safer and more comfortable winter driving this year—all it takes is a little bit of preparation.

» Worn tires can increase stopping distances by as muchas25%, so make sure you’re on good rubber. «

Assemble a winter kit

Being ready for unexpected emergencies is always a good idea, no matter the time of year.

Make a Roadside Kit

A road-side kit is easy to build. (And a scraper and cell phone are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.) Consider also including:

  • Flashlight

  • Jumper cables

  • First aid kit

  • Blanket (or two)

  • Road flares

  • Small tool kit

  • Folding shovel (for digging yourself out of deep drifts)

REMEMBER!

If you ever do run into trouble, it’s always better to pull over to the side, stay in your vehicle and call for help. However, should you find yourself on a major highway when trouble hits, try not to stop at the side of the road. It’s far safer to get off at the next exit and make a

Get your car winter-ready

Like a marathon runner getting ready for a big competition, your car needs to be in the best possible shape for winter.

Start Fresh

Get a maintenance check-up, top up all your fluids and get into the habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full at all times in the winter.

Check Your Tires

The most important thing when it comes to winter safety are your tires. Make sure they are properly pressurized and that all the wheel nuts are tight. Worn tires can increase stopping distances by as much as 25%, so make sure you’re on good rubber.

Get Winter Performance

Consider switching to winter tires. They provide better traction, braking and handling on frost, snow, slush and ice. Plus, for Ontario drivers, there are now provincially mandated insurance discounts for those who make the annual switch. Discounts may also apply elsewhere in the country, so it’s worth a call to your insurer.

Change your Style

When it comes to winter driving, the most important safety system is sitting behind the steering wheel. Drivers definitely have the greatest influence when it comes to road safety.

See Clearly

Take an extra minute or two to clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors and roof. Let the heaters blow off the fog from the windows before you head out.

Take Your Time

Slow down and leave extra space between yourself and other vehicles. Put away the cell phone and snacks, and concentrate on the road.

Don’t Panic

Avoid sudden reactions to conditions, such as hard breaking or steering. (If you do skid, release your brakes and steer in the direction of the skid.) Give yourself plenty more breaking distance, just in case.

Plan Ahead

Plan your trip, decide where you might stop, and check the weather. News about road conditions and closures are available through many apps, websites and call-in numbers.