Being stranded in your vehicle sucks. It sucks even worse in the winter! Here are some tips to keep in mind and things you should keep in your vehicle for winter driving.

Check the weather reports before you head out.

Seems commonsensical, but the number of times a winter storm has been predicted days in advance and yet drivers still end up stranded on the highway…we can’t even count it. If you don’t need to be on the roads during ugly winter weather, don’t. As first responders, we’ve pulled many a motorist from a stranded or crashed vehicle and they were heading to a dinner, a party, a holiday get together, or other similar events. There’s no occasion worth risking your safety on slippery roads or driving with poor visibility. Are you a fantastic driver? Us too! And the best drivers in the world know when to stay indoors and off the roads.

Adjust your driving for winter conditions

Any car or driving expert will tell you that the cheapest winter tires are better in winter conditions than the best all-seasons. Winter driving also requires more time and distance to come to a stop so leave yourself extra time to arrive at your destination and leave extra distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.

Most accidents are completely preventable with proper planning and good decision making.

A vehicle safety kit

Many people who travel a lot for work or fun in Alberta keep a safety kit in their vehicle because our weather can be so unpredictable.

Consider keeping the following in your vehicle:

A warm blanket or sleeping bag. Having to stay overnight in your vehicle isn’t awesome, but at least you won’t freeze to death if the roads are closed or impassable.

A change of clothes and thick socks. If your clothes are wet, a change of dry clothes can be lifesaving.

Heavy gloves and a toque.

Consider keeping a pair of boots in your car.

A candle, like tea lights in a deep can that won’t tip over or survival candles in a tin. These can provide warmth.

Non-perishable food, such as granola bars, nuts, candy bars, dried fruit.

Bottled water-replace these every 6 months.

A first aid kit.

A wind-up flashlight