With the possibility of extremely cold temperatures in the forecast this week in Moose Jaw, CAA Saskatchewan wants to ask the question “are you and your vehicle winter ready”? That is CAA’s motto this winter.  

Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan’s Director of Corporate Communications and Media Relations says that the first thing you should do prepare for winter is to make sure your vehicle is ready for the conditions, starting with your winter tires. 

“Definitely a recommendation from CAA, the different rubber compound in winter tires allows for better traction and control,” says Niemczyk. “When you’re looking at winter tires consider the tread design, type of rubber, size, and conditions of use. Where are you going to drive and how often are you going to be driving? Are they grid roads or highways?” 

Other things to check prior to winter driving are your tire pressure, the state of your battery, block heater and cord, along with your antifreeze, brake, and windshield washer fluid levels.  

Niemczyk notes to keep items in your vehicle such as a snow scraper and brush, along with booster cables. She says one of the most important things to continuously check this winter is that you have a full tank of fuel.  

“This will help reduce moisture in the gas tank and it also adds weight to your vehicle.” 

CAA does offer roadside safety kits, which Niemczyk says is a good idea to have in your vehicle. The kit comes with essentials such as mini pylons and flags, but she says people should add things like extra winter clothes, a mobile phone and charger, non-perishable food items, and a snow shovel.  

She says that these essentials are vital especially if you get stuck on the highway. If you do get stuck or break down on Saskatchewan roads this winter, she explains some safety tips to keep you safe while waiting for help to arrive.  

“Mark your vehicle if you are stranded, and know where your vehicle is and where you are, should you need to call for roadside assistance or for others to come and find you. Make sure your vehicle is in a safe place and have your emergency lights on.” 

Now that your vehicle is winter ready, it’s time to make sure that you’re ready for what lies ahead of you on Saskatchewan roads. 

CAA Saskatchewan has a Driver Safety Checklist that motorists should use before driving this winter: 

  1. CHECK WEATHER & ROAD CONDITIONS: Snow and ice can make for treacherous roads. Be prepared to adjust your driving behaviour to the current weather and road conditions. Reduce your speed and drive with caution. Allow extra time to arrive at your destination. Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Check the Highway Hotline for updates on winter road conditions.
  2. DEFROST YOUR WINDOWS BEFORE YOU DRIVE: Take the time to remove ice and snow from your vehicle for clear visibility.
  3. UNPLUGANDDRIVE: Eliminate distractions such as the use of mobile phones, eating, drinking, adjusting entertainment or navigation systems, grooming, long conversations, and smoking. Keep your eyes and mind focused on the task of safe driving.
  4. SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER: Remember, slow down move over for first responders, including tow truck operators, law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters, and construction crews working on Saskatchewan highways. It’s also provincial law to slow to 60 km/h. Know the risks. It’s a matter of life and death.
  5. WATCH FOR SNOWPLOWS: Snowplows have blue and amber flashing lights for increased visibility. Remember to slow down, stay back, and stay safe. Learn about the Snow Zone and how to pass safely, visit the Ministry of Highways website.
  6. STAY CONNECTED: Pack a mobile phone and charger to use in case of emergencies or calling for CAA Roadside Assistance. Ensure that your driver’s licence, vehicle insurance, travel insurance, and CAA membership are up to date.
  7. ADVICE FOR DRIVING IN THE COUNTRY: Winter driving can be a challenge at the best of times. On rural roads it’s even trickier: They’re often more exposed to hazards like crossing wildlife and reduced visibility. They’re also more isolated. Learn how CAA has got your back if you’re stranded in the country. Read Rural Rescues in the Drive column of the CAA Saskatchewan Magazine.