5 Tips on How to Drive Safely this Winter

Winter road with trees on both sides

Winter driving can be tough, and whether you’re new to typical Alberta driving in the cold months, or you’re a seasoned veteran of the snow-covered roads, we’ve compiled some tips that will help you stay safe and warm. From getting winter tires installed to packing a winter survival kit to just simply taking your time, there’s a wide variety of things you can do to make your next winter drive a confident ride. Follow along with us here at Charlesglen Toyota as we outline the top 5 tips on how to drive safely this winter. 

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1. Get Winter Tires

While this is something you should have done before winter and the snow hit (when the temperature consistently dips below 7℃), it’s never too late in the winter to get your snow tires on. Yes, living and driving in Calgary and across Alberta demands that you outfit your Toyota with a set of tires that are perfectly equipped to handle the conditions through their improved traction and resistance to cold temperatures. 

2. Take Your Time Driving

One of the biggest troubles that comes with winter driving is that not every road may react as it looks. Just because it may look like packed snow on a road doesn’t mean there isn’t a slick sheet of ice right under the surface. That’s why it’s always so important to take things nice and slowly when driving during the winter. Areas you might not have thought twice about driving through in the summer may require a reduced speed and increased attention. Give yourself plenty of time coming to a stop, and when accelerating again take it with caution. Not only should you be more careful with your speed, but also in your distance away from the vehicle ahead. Give yourself a buffer of a 5-6 second following distance, giving you enough time and space to stop or maneuver away in the event of a sudden stop.

Rear side view of C-HR XLE in Blue Eclise Metallic with Black Roof in winter

3. Budget More Time For Your Trip

Everything about driving takes a bit longer in the winter, whether it’s plugging your car in so it starts nicely, clearing off all the snow and ice that stuck on it during a snowstorm, or just simply traveling to your location. That 10 minute drive to the grocery store in the summer can just as easily be a 20 minute drive in the winter. Plan ahead when going somewhere and tack on some extra time when routing your trip due to the weather and possible road conditions, so you don’t show up late to an important appointment. As well, if you do find yourself late and traversing snowy roads, don’t try to make up time by speeding, that can only invite a greater risk of accident. Safe driving is always the opportune method, no matter the appointment you need to get to.

4. Pack a Winter Safety Kit

Be prepared for anything that winter driving throws your way and pack a winter safety kit full of items helpful for getting yourself unstuck, keeping warm, staying nourished and more. Grab a large bag and throw some of these important things into it:

  • Jumper cables
  • A quality ice scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Safety absorbent
  • Basic tools
  • Phone charger
  • Shovel
  • First-aid kit
  • Food
  • Water
  • Extra warm clothes
  • Blanket

5. Be Prepared if You Get Stuck

When snow and ice pack up, and especially if you’ve left your vehicle in an uncovered spot for multiple days or find yourself on treacherous roads, you can easily get stuck. That’s all a part of winter driving, though, and by carrying some of those helpful items in your car from the winter safety kit we packed above, you can either get yourself out or be safe and hunkered down until help comes. In the event of being stuck where you’re not able to remedy your situation, try to ensure as best as possible that you always have at least a half-tank of gas (so you can utilize your car’s functions while you wait) while driving for situations like this, and that you stay in your vehicle to remain warm and safe from oncoming vehicles.

Whether you need winter tires, a service check-up for the winter driving season,  or anything else your Toyota may require for the cold, our Charlesglen Toyota service team is here to assist you. Our parts & accessories departments are fit to provide you with the best replacements and add-ons to improve your vehicle’s utility for the tough terrain and temperatures of the season. When it comes to Toyota winter driving in Calgary, we’re your experts here at Charlesglen Toyota.