9 winter driving survival hacks: Stay safe on the road
December 09, 2020

Ontario winters can be challenging for motorists. Weather conditions can be unpredictable, placing extra demand on your vehicle and driving skills.

Here are tips from Georgian’s Campus Safety Services on how you can stay safe this winter:

  1. Keep a survival kit in your vehicle: Include a shovel, booster cables, flashlight with spare batteries, First Aid kit, blanket and more. Learn how to build a kit.
  2. Check weather and travel conditions: Take responsibility for your personal safety when deciding whether to head out.
  3. Plan extra time to get to your destination: Notify a friend or family member of your anticipated arrival time.
  4. Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is topped up and you have a full tank of gas: The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road.
  5. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle: Include all windows, mirrors, lights and the roof. Wait for foggy windows to clear to avoid poor visibility.
  6. Keep well behind snowplows: Stay back and be patient. Don’t pass around or between them.
  7. Adjust your speed according to winter weather conditions: Better to be late than not to arrive at all.
  8. Make sure your cell phone is charged: You may need it in an emergency.
  9. Wear comfortable clothes: It’s good to layer during the cold months, but having too many layers can restrict movement (e.g., make it difficult to check your blind spot).

Bonus: Winter tires

The Ministry of Transportation recommends putting winter tires on your vehicle since they improve traction and control in frost, snow and icy conditions. Be sure to install four winter tires – never mix different types of tires on one vehicle.

Wheels.ca says that the consensus among tire experts in Canada is that, in the vast majority of cases, winter tires outperform all-season tires on cold surfaces and in winter conditions. This view is supported by Transport Canada, which concluded in a study that all-season tires are less effective when temperatures drop below -10C.

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Unlike winter tires, all-seasons don’t have the cold-weather compounds, tread swipes and channeling patterns for traction in deep snow. Although most new vehicles are designed with front-wheel drivetrains, all four wheels should be equipped with winter tires. All tires require linear (forward) traction and lateral (sideways) traction in order to prevent loss of control.

With winter upon us, don’t compromise your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Install winter tires and play it safe!

Poor winter weather and campus closures

Review Georgian’s Unscheduled Campus Closure Procedure.

In the rare instance a campus closes, students should check Blackboard for faculty expectations.


This article was originally published in November 2018. It was updated in December 2021.