White winter, as beautiful, romantic and exciting as it is, is still a hard, tricky season for cars and for their drivers. Here are a few tips winter tips that’ll help spending a safe and pleasant winter behind the wheel!

Preparing Your Vehicle to Harsh Winter Weather

Get your car checked up. Place your car in the hands of a trustworthy mechanic and get it checked-up for winter. Winter months are hard on cars: therefore, yours should be in pristine mechanical shape to stand a chance of going through winter unharmed. Your mechanic should check the brakes, the exhaust system, the electrical system, the heating system; he must make sure the windshield wipers are fit for winter and that your paintjob doesn’t need fixing. Rust will undoubtedly settle in little scratches of paint.

Get good winter tires. Just “winter tires” are not enough: in order to stay safe, your winter tires must be of great quality and in good shape. If they are worn out, change them. For extra safety, get your winter tires installed in advance. Not only will you avoid crowds in garages, you will also spare yourself bad surprises if there is an early, unexpected snowstorm!

Prepare an emergency kit. The cautious winter driver’s emergency kit contains items that would prove themselves useful in case of an emergency, not matter what the emergency is. Therefore, it must contain things such as blankets, gloves, snacks, a hat, a first-aid kit and snow boots, in case you get stuck in a storm or your car is broken down for a long time; it should also contain a bag of sand and/or salt, a snow shovel, brush and scraper, tires chains (properly fitted), booster cables, fuel de-icer and windshield wiper fluid in sufficient amount.

Driving Safely

Slow down. Even if you drive a powerful Honda CR-V, always be on your guard and do not drive too fast. Winter roads are full of surprises and you car can slip out of your control when you expect it the least. So the best tip to stay safe in winter is to drive slowly.

Go easy on the brakes. Try to avoid braking too suddenly: you could loose control of your car on a slippery, icy road. Also, accelerate gradually, to avoid spinning the wheels.

Maintain a safe distance. Never drive too close to another driver, even if he drives annoyingly slowly. While this tips is good for summer as well, it is particularly important that you maintain a safe distance in the winter, when the driving conditions are more treacherous.

Plan your driving in advance. If you have long distance to cover, prepare an itinerary and study it carefully to avoid bad surprises. Getting lost on the road during winter can quickly turn into a nightmare. Also, gather information on the type of roads you will come across. Will your trip take you from a highway to a small winding country road? Be prepared, to avoid being caught off guard.

Mireille is a freelance blogger for Honda Blainville a Quebec-based car dealer. She is also a travel, music and theater enthusiast. She wrote for the stage and television, and is now working as a freelance blogger.