Whether you're driving for five minutes in the city or an hour in the country, it's always wise to have a snow brush and an ice scraper on hand. Driving with even a single window covered in ice or snow can seriously limit your awareness and lead to hazardous events. So make sure appropriate tools are on hand to clear up your driving vision. A snow shovel will also come in handy if you need to get your car out of tough spots. It's also wise to drive with road maps. Many people rely on smartphone apps or GPS systems these days to get around, but in case something goes wrong, it's far better to have paper maps on hand just to be on the safe side.
To ensure you can get your car out of snowy or muddy situations, make sure you have properly fitting tire chains, a bag of sand or salt and/or traction mats. And to get the car started again, keep some booster cables in your emergency kit. A flashlight and extra batteries are also crucial items, along with flares or other emergency lights. A good place to start is by purchasing a roadside assistance kit such as this one from Canadian Tire (canadiantire.ca, $40).
It is possible, particularly in the winter or while driving in rural areas, that a car may become trapped and isolated for a period of time. In such occurences, ensure your car is well equipped to keep you alive and safe as long as is necessary. Keep water bottles for hydration and nutritionally dense foods such as trail mixes or nut and fruit bars in the car at all times. You should also have a fully stocked first aid kit so you can treat any injuries you or someone else may incur immediately. Also stock the car with extra clothing and blankets to keep warm in case you get stuck.
And of course, keep in mind your emergency kit is just part of what will keep you safe while driving this winter. It's also crucial that you ensure your car is armed with appropriate tires and is in good working condition. If you have any questions or doubts, take it in to get checked. Check out the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for more tips on how to ensure your car is completely winter-ready.
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