The First Sign That The White Stuff Is Coming....What Should I have Done To Be Ready For Big Dumping of Snow?

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Ok ok…it is only October and in most Provinces other than Alberta they are still enjoying the season everyone calls FALL!!

But today here in Cold Lake Alberta we just got our first snow fall. Now really, what has landed on the ground today is nothing compared to previous years around this time, that’s why the joke is…we only have 3 seasons here Spring, Summer…..Winter!!

You have all noticed that the days are getting shorter and soon we will be heading to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. With that being said you need to make sure your vehicle is Winter ready. Whether you're a veteran in driving under extreme weather conditions or you're still getting used to the feel of a snow-covered road, it's important to prep yourself -- and your car -- for what's ahead.

If you haven't already, get your snow tires on


Now is the time, don’t put it off because you think…meh I will be fine it is not that much snow….well my friend it is just going to get worse and why wait. Take your vehicle to your favourite Mechanic or dealership….cough (Cold Lake Chrysler) to get it serviced and fix anything that may cause a problem as winter starts to take over.

​One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is getting snow tires installed. Which don’t be surprised when the Alberta Government follows suit and make it mandatory to have them.

If you already own them, you may know that the optimal time to put them on is when average daily highs start hovering around 7° Celsius or less.

If you don't have snow tires and use summer or all-seasons throughout the winter, consider winter tires as an investment in your safety. What sets these tires apart from their summer and all-seasons counterparts are the deeper grooves within the rubber. This gives your vehicle superior traction and grip in snow, ice and cold temperatures - both in the city and in the country - all the way down to -30° Celsius or colder.

In order for them to work, though, you must install all four. Only putting them on the front or the back of your car can be dangerous.

Prepare for emergencies

If you don't already have an emergency kit in your vehicle, this can help keep you safe and warm in the event your car breaks down or becomes stuck in a snow bank.

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Emergency kits should include:

·         1. A first-aid kit with bandages, gauze pads, medical tape and any items pertinent to medical conditions you or your family members may have.

·         2. A portable battery charger for your smartphone or cellphone.

·         3. Non-perishable food, snacks and water bottles.

·         4.  Blankets (regular and thermal), extra clothes, gloves and winter-appropriate footwear.

·        5.  Wind up or battery-operated flashlights, extra batteries, waterproof matches and candles

·         6.  A paper map, as well as a printed list of emergency contacts with numbers for family, friends and doctors, in case you can't access information on your phone.

·         7.  Road flares, reflective "call police" sign, reflective safety vests and a whistle.

·         8.  A folding shovel, and cat litter or sand to help with traction should your wheels become stuck.

·         9.  Heat packets for hands and feet.

·         10.  Extra bottles of windshield washer fluid and antifreeze.

·         11.  Swiss Army knife, jump starter cables, a tow chain or rope, ice scraper and brush, paper towels, screw driver, duct tape, fire extinguisher, a properly inflated spare tire, and a wheel wrench and jack.

Remember to go through the kit at least once per year to make sure everything is still in working order. Replace any items that show wear and tear or have expired.

Before the bad weather hits

Don't stress out about long term forecasts, just be on the know about what is coming over the next 24hrs so that you can be prepared and know what you will have to drive in.  Life can’t stand still when bad weather conditions arrive…we just have to be smarter than the storm.

Clean more than just your car windows

Don’t be THAT person!! It is a safety hazard when you don’t clean off your entire vehicle. Think….would you like a huge chunk of hard snow/ice flying into your windshield?  No.. I didn’t think so, so clean your entire car off before you head out.


Drive with caution


It doesn’t matter if it is stormy out or a beautiful sunny winter day, always be careful while driving during the winter.

Did You Know?, Winter Accidents often occur when the weather is calm and not during storms - likely because drivers feel they don't need to be as cautious. However, you can still encounter black ice or other obstacles, so it's important to stay alert and focused at all times.

Slow down and take your time under wet conditions. It's better to arrive safely but late, rather than the alternative. Don't follow the vehicle in front of you too closely, and start braking earlier when approaching an amber light, crosswalk or stop sign.

Remember: even if it appears safe, driving too fast for the conditions or following too closely could result in a collision and/or earn you a traffic violation.

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And finally ... fill up often!

If you tend to avoid the gas station until the gas gauge light goes on, winter is the time to break that habit. Don't let your tank fall below half-full when the weather is at its worst. Not only does this give you extra fuel in the event you become stranded, but it also limits condensation and reduces the chance that your gas line will freeze.

Winter in Cold Lake can be unpredictable, but properly outfit your car and brush off your winter driving skills and you will be ready for anything that comes your way.