Let’s face it. Winter driving is no fun. It’s more stressful, dangerous and time-consuming than summer driving. Driving, in general, can be a whole lot of stress, with insurance costs and fuel adding up to the already expensive luxury of owning a car. That’s why it’s always good to look for the cheapest place for car insurance, as this can help you minimise the costs of being on the road.
If you live in a part of the world that gets snow, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of scary driving experiences. I’ve had a few this year already! My friend has also been in a truck accident this year but luckily wasn’t too badly injured. These experiences have opened my eyes to the importance of being prepared before hitting the road. We all know that driving in the winter can be a little more than dangerous if you aren’t careful, and the kind of car you drive can make all the difference when it comes to road safety. Even if it’s just to ask about making your car safer or looking for a new car for the winter, it really is worth it to visit a Car Dealership, before you set it out on any long trips during the winter season. This is why, I’ve decided to share a few of my winter driving essentials.
Back in January, a couple of girlfriends and I took a road trip to Prince Edward County. We made plans to stay the night, since it’s a couple hours outside of Toronto. Like any girls weekend, it was so much fun! We started our night off with a nice dinner in town. The food (and wine) were delicious, but the portions were a little bit small. We made sure to pick up some munchies to enjoy with our wine, back at the hotel. Then again, what girl’s night is complete without too many snacks?
The next morning, we took a leisurely drive into the town, in search of breakfast. We stumbled upon a cute café and enjoyed breakfast and lattes. It was a beautiful day, so we also checked out some of the interesting shops in the town. There were quite a few antique and vintage shops in the area. This one shop in particular had one of the largest collections of vintage tea cups that I’ve ever seen! After we felt like we were done with window shopping, we all agreed that it was time to head back into the city.
It started out as a pretty uneventful drive home, until out of nowhere, it started snowing like crazy! Since it had been sunny all morning, we weren’t expecting to run into that type of weather. The visibility was almost zero, so it was scary. We drove very slowly along the highway, with the hazard lights on. We didn’t know whether or not to keep going like that, or if we should pull over.
Before we knew it, we saw the cars ahead had stopped driving. Given the conditions, we figured there was an accident ahead and that a couple of the lanes must have been blocked. What we didn’t expect was that there were multiple accidents along that stretch of the highway.
We also didn’t expect to be stuck on the highway for three and a half hours!
Um. Yeah. Crazy, right?
It was a surreal experience.
Interestingly, we were prepared for the situation without realizing it. Since we were stuck for so long, we started chatting with the people in the other vehicles. What we learned was that most people around us weren’t prepared at all, but we all tried to help each other out.
One of the key differences between our car and everyone else’s was that we had leftover snacks and drinks from the night before. We ended up sharing with some of the people around us. One of my friends went car to car, offering people snacks. What stuck out the most in my mind was the elderly gentleman who was travelling in the car behind us. He was diabetic and didn’t have any food or drinks with him. As you can imagine, he was very appreciative of the gesture.
All of this to say, moving forward, I’ve learned that there’s certain essentials you should always bring with you on a winter drive. I know it’s not the most glamorous topic, but I think it’s important to share!
5 Winter Driving Essentials:
- Snacks and drinks – You never know how long you’ll be on the road, so keep some snacks on hand. I like to bring a mixture of carbs (like coconut chips or pretzels) and protein (like KRAVE jerky or energy bars). Staying hydrated is important, too. It helps to keep some bottles of water or juice on hand. Lately, I’ve been hooked on coconut water!
- Portable Charger For Your Phone – When we were stuck, we were constantly checking Twitter for updates. We also made to sure to keep our friends and families up to date, so they wouldn’t get worried. That’s a lot of battery usage, so make sure to keep an portable charger with you, just in case! The last thing you want is a dead phone.
- Warm Jacket – When I go for a long road trip, I don’t wear my jacket in the car. That being said, I will always bring my jacket. What happens if you’re involved in an accident and have to be outside of the vehicle? In our case, we had to turn the car off, because we didn’t want to use all of our gas. Just to be safe, bring your jacket. I always like to travel with my Canada Goose jacket.
- Gloves/Hat – Similar to the jacket, you’ll want to have gloves and a hat in the car with you. When the temperatures are frigid, frostbite can strike quickly.
- Blanket – Yes, a blanket is great for added warmth, but there’s another reason. What happens if you’re stuck for an extended period of time and have to pee? That’s right – a blanket can also be a shield!
Other Winter Driving Essentials to Keep on Hand:
The 5 winter driving essentials that I mentioned above are important…but there’s other steps you can take!
- A Full Tank of Gas – In the summer, it’s not uncommon for me to let my reserve light come on. During the winter, I try to make an effort to fill up when I get to 1/3 tank of gas left.
- Jumper cables – Even if you don’t know how to use them, you should always keep them in your car, just in case
- Windshield Washer Fluid – Running out of this mid-drive can be incredibly dangerous. Don’t risk it; just keep this on hand
I hope you found these tips helpful. What are your winter driving essentials?