Safe winter driving reminders for extreme cold conditions

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Most of the province will be in the deep freeze for the next few days which means bundling up to avoid the winter cold and wind chill. The extreme cold weather also means time for motorists to remember some important winter driving tips:

- When the temperature falls below -15 degrees Celsius, it’s important to plug in your vehicle. Check to make sure your block heater and cord are in good working condition.

- Test your vehicle’s battery. Colder temperatures can weaken the battery and cause it to fail.

- Consider installing winter tires on your vehicle. Rubber in all-season tires start to lose elasticity and harden at around seven degrees Celsius, significantly reducing the tire’s ability to grip the road.

- Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Delay travel plans if necessary.

- Adjust your speed to weather and road conditions. Make sure you have a full tank of fuel.

- Plan your route in advance, allow extra time for travel, and let others know your route and arrival time.

- Carry a fully charged cell phone and a cell phone car charger to call for help or Members can call CAA Roadside Assistance.

- Wear warm clothing and footwear, no matter how far you are travelling. Pack an emergency vehicle kit with items such as non-perishable food, water, blankets, extra clothing, flashlight, candle and lighter or matches and tin can, first aid supplies, booster cables, and a shovel. Visit your local CAA Saskatchewan office or go online to view a standard roadside emergency kit.

Driving in fog or snowstorms:

- Drivers should slow down; increase the space between their vehicle and the one in front of them.

- Reconsider activating your vehicle’s emergency flashers. In a reduced visibility situation, other drivers, seeing emergency flashers on another vehicle, may think that there’s a vehicle breakdown and may want to pull over onto the shoulder of the road to offer assistance. This action may be dangerous for themselves and other motorists.

- Turn your vehicle headlights on low beam as they are more effective in fog and snowstorms. High beams reflect the light back to you, creating glare.

- If you approach another vehicle from behind during a fog or snowstorm, avoid passing; do not tailgate.

- Unless absolutely necessary, never stop on the roadway. Stopping puts you at risk of another vehicle hitting your vehicle when vision is compromised.

Free brochures on winter driving are available at any of the 12 CAA Saskatchewan offices and at CAA Car Care Centres. Or visit http://www.caa.ca/working-for-you/safe-driving/winter-driving.

Organizations: CAA Saskatchewan

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