Please excuse me for the delay in Friday’s blogs. The snow streets were to blame. Europe is currently having a real cold, snowy spell.
In such weather conditions, a 10-minute drive can become an ordeal of hours getting stuck in a traffic jam. If you are lucky, the queue might be moving a few cm a minute. If you are not, you’d be standing still. If you are really unlucky, you’d be in that ambulance.
Upon coming home from an extremely stressy drive, but still very thankful that I got home safely, I immediately checked out resources for safe winter driving.
Preparing for winter driving is basically preparing the vehicle and the driver.
Is your car winter-ready? Our local garage always offers us a winter check-up package that includes checking:
- Wipers, including anti-freeze windshield washer fluid
- Tires. Take note that in many countries, winter tires are compulsory. In some mountain areas in Switzerland, snow chains may be required depending on the weather conditions.
- Ask yourself: do you really have the drive? Can the trip wait till weather conditions improve? Is there an alternative way of getting there?
- Be alert. Winter driving requires a lot of concentration. If you are very tired or slightly tipsy or extreme nervous, then maybe it is best to leave the car and walk or take the public transport.
- Dress comfortably and warmly. Bring extra warm clothes for everybody in the car in case you need get out of the car or stay in an unheated car for a long period of time.
The official site of the province of Ontario, Canada gives us useful tips on winter driving. I find the following checklist from the site very helpful:
- Ice scraper/snowbrush
- Sand or other traction aid
- Tow rope or chain
- Booster cables
- Road flares or warning lights
- Gas line antifreeze
- Flashlight and batteries
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Small tool kit
- Extra clothing and footwear
- Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
- Candle and a small tin can
I’d like to add my own must-haves in the car:
- A fully charged mobile phone
- A reflector vest (one for each passenger is required by law in Europe)
- A windshield foil that I can use to protect the windshield from snow or freezing in case I need to park outside (saves a lot of time because I do not have to scrape or defrost before driving off).
- De-icing liquid for the windshield and doors.
- A bottle of water
So how do you get prepare for winter driving?