Driving during winter in Alberta can be challenging and stressful due to harsh weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. As a result, it’s essential to be well-prepared and take necessary precautions to avoid roadside emergencies. This article provides 15 crucial tips to ensure a smooth and safe winter driving experience.

15 Essential Tips for Safe Winter Driving

1. Give Yourself Extra Time

Leave earlier than usual and allow extra time to reach your destination. Rushing can be dangerous, especially when the weather conditions are not favorable.

2. Fill Up On Fuel

Ensure that your fuel tank is at least half full. In extreme cold, fuel lines can freeze up, preventing the vehicle from starting. Running the engine to stay warm might be necessary if you’re stranded.

3. Check Your Battery

Ensure your car’s battery is in good shape and can handle the cold weather. Having a dependable battery will prevent you from having to jump-start your vehicle.

4. Change Your Oil

Consider changing your engine oil to a winter-weight oil, such as 5W/30. This oil type moves more freely in sub-zero temperatures, making it easier on your vehicle’s engine.

5. Pack An Emergency Kit

It’s essential to have emergency kit in your car in unexpected situations. Your kit should have necessary items like a lock deicer, a can of flat tire air, a flashlight, road flares, blankets, a spare tire, a jack, spare fuses, a cell phone battery pack, booster cables, a small shovel, sandbags, and emergency heat pads.

6. Avoid Steep Roadways

Be cautious of steep roadways, especially in extreme cold and slippery conditions. Take an alternate route if possible, or proceed with extra caution.

7. Clear Your Vehicle Of Snow And Ice

Ensure that your vehicle’s glass, body, and lighting systems are clear of snow and ice. Clear visibility is vital during the winter months.

8. Plan Your Route

Check local weather reports and road conditions before traveling. Plan an alternate route if necessary to avoid congested or problematic areas.

9. Check Your Tires

Ensure that your tires have adequate tread and no apparent defects or blemishes. Keep a tire pressure gauge inside your vehicle and maintain proper inflation to reduce wear and improve driving conditions.

10. Check Your Brakes

Brakes are critical, especially during winter driving. Give yourself an extra stopping distance and ensure your brake pads are in good condition.

11. Check Your Antifreeze Coolant

To ensure optimal performance, it’s essential to have the appropriate amount of antifreeze coolant for your climate. Although standard antifreeze is adequate up to -32 degrees, it’s prudent to verify with local guidelines for added safety.

12. Plug Your Vehicle In

If you have a block heater, coolant heater, battery blanket, or other similar devices, plug your vehicle in when temperatures drop below freezing. Cold starts can wear out engine parts more quickly.

13. Avoid Quick Take-Offs

Avoid accelerating too quickly, as this can cause your tires to spin and result in loss of control, excessive fuel consumption, and tire wear. Gradual acceleration will help you keep better control of the vehicle.

14. Avoid Pumping Brakes

Most modern vehicles have an ABS braking system that pumps the brakes for you. If your vehicle does not have ABS, avoid pumping the brakes, as this can cause the wheels to lock up and result in loss of control.

15. Do Not Recirculate Air

During winter driving, it is advisable to avoid using the recirculating mode as it can cause heavy fogging on the inside of your car windows. Although most newer cars have fixed this issue, it is still recommended to check your car’s manual or consult a mechanic to be sure it is safe to use the recirculating mode without causing fogging.


Following these 15 essential winter driving tips, you can stay safe and problem-free on Alberta roads this winter. Remember to constantly be prepared, adjust your driving to the conditions, and stay focused on the road to avoid potential hazards. If you’re in the market for a more reliable and safe vehicle for the winter months, click here to apply now and get started.

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