See all our prevention tips

8 ways to reduce the risk of an accident this winter

Published on November 22, 2022


Winter brings added challenges for drivers. To drive safely during the cold months, here are eight tips that will make you a better driver.

1. Look after your vehicle

Getting your vehicle ready for the winter is an essential step. The changing season is a good time to book an oil change and a brake system and electrical system inspection. Why not kill two birds with one stone and get it all done at the same time as your winter tire change? This is also an opportunity to replace worn-out wipers and top up your fluids, like windshield washer fluid.

2. Slow down and go easy on the brakes

We’ve all heard the expression: speed kills. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s one of the biggest factors in traffic accidents. The road has less grip in cold weather and this increases the risk of losing control. So, it’s really important to adapt your driving to the conditions by reducing your speed, both in town and on the highway. Snow and icy road conditions mean you also need to brake sooner. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing. Be on the lookout for vehicles stopping quickly or swerving without warning.

3. Carefully brush off your vehicle

Don’t drive off with snow on your roof. If your car is covered with snow or frost when you start it, take the time to properly clear off the windshield and all windows. Snow scrapers and brushes will save you from a potential fine if you drive a snow-covered vehicle that doesn’t comply with the Highway Safety Code. Before heading out, plan to spend an extra 15 to 30 minutes clearing off and heating up your vehicle.

4. Check your tires

In Quebec, it’s mandatory to use snow tires between December 1 and March 15. They deliver added traction when the temperature dips below 5 degrees Celsius, even when there’s zero snow on the road. Make sure they’re well inflated. Experts recommend doing a monthly air pressure inspection. An under-inflated tire not only provides less traction, but it can also cause a vehicle to burn more fuel.

5. Make sure your windshield is always clear

Your wipers wear down over time and need to be replaced. Ideally, that would be twice a year to ensure the blades remain effective all year. Wipers specially designed for harsh winter conditions make it easier to get rid of ice and snow on the windshield. Winter windshield washer fluid can also speed up the windshield de-icing process in cold weather.

6. Adapt your visibility to sparkling snow

Did you know that snowy ground can reflect up to 80% of the sun's UV rays? These exceptionally bright rays can really affect your visibility when behind the wheel. Keep a pair of sunglasses on hand that you can throw on during those bright snowy winter days and cruise in style while also having a better view of the road ahead.

7. Prepare for shorter days

As of September 1, 2021, all new vehicles in Canada must have headlights and taillights that automatically turn on when the sun goes down. However, it’s still possible to pass vehicles with their headlights or signal lights off when it gets dark. Make sure your car’s headlights are turned on in the dark.

8. Stay on top of changing weather

Despite all the advances, it’s still hard to accurately predict the severity of snowstorms and winter conditions. Always be prepared for changing conditions when you hit the road. Check the weather forecast before driving and if things are looking dicey hang up your coat and avoid non-essential travel.

Winter driving, you can do it!

Many driving schools offer a winter driving course that will get you up to speed on the best techniques to rely on during the cold season. Contact them for details about how and when to register.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Contact him or her!