Winter is just around the corner, so hopefully your preparations for cold, slippery, low-visibility conditions have begun. Some locations have yet to see snowfall, but it’s best to get your car in order before you get caught in a surprise snowfall.
Road safety is the most important issue when the fluffy white stuff hits the ground, and while some people think they are prepared, the truth is, the majority likely aren’t.
That starts with a number of key areas, from tires to windshield wipers and headlights, and there are many common misconceptions.
One of the most popular surrounds all-season tires, which, despite what the name implies, are not actually meant for every season. The tread patterns on all season tires aren’t made to deal with the heavy build-up of snow and ice, and in extreme cold, the rubber compound hardens, reducing grip even further.
Winter tires can stop as much as five feet shorter in low speed tests (15 km/h or less) in extreme icy conditions, as evident in a previous test that was conducted comparing a set of Goodyear Nordic Winter tires to a comparable all-season tire. The unique treads offer better bite in the icy conditions and rather than sliding everywhere, they work to keep your car more stable in a slippery situation.
Visibility is equally important during icy conditions. While most OEM wiper blades still consist of metal construction with moving parts and plenty of spaces for ice to form, the Reflex Ice wiper blades are a great, one-piece alternative that work the same regardless of ice buildup. The specially engineered rubber works down to -40 degrees, and paired with an all-season washer fluid like Rain-X, your windshield will stay clean and ice-free.
Paired with your wiper blades, a good set of headlights will help your vision in wet and low-light conditions to see further and clearer. Your headlights are literally your guiding light, and after a recent test between SYLVANIA’s SilverStar® ULTRA headlights and an OEM equivalent, the difference was evident. The spread and density of the SilverStar® ULTRA light is greater, creating a wider field of view that appears more natural to the eye, while the overall coverage in the light path is more consistent (less patchy), allowing you to see a more detailed picture of the road surface ahead. Because the side-to-side coverage is greater, it also means an enhanced field of view that requires less eye-movement and a greater field of view that can help prevent straining on long drives.
If you intend on doing a lot of travelling this season, a roadside safety kit is always a good option as well. Complete with a shovel, jumper cables, snow brush, flashlight and first-aid kit, Canadian Tire sells a version that also includes a free one-year membership to their 24/7 roadside assistance program. That includes everything from boosts, fuel, tires, towing, and even lock-out service.
Canadian winters are always unpredictable, and to ensure a safe and hassle-free driving experience, it’s always good to be well-equipped. Tires, wipers headlights and a safety kit are the bare essentials, but they will also keep your winter driving experience less eventful and more predictable. You can find these products and more at Canadian Tire, so if you haven’t prepared yet, head on over for a quick, one-stop shop to get your vehicle ready.