Winter in Ontario, Canada, can be harsh, with cold temperatures, snow, and icy conditions. It's essential to be prepared for potential challenges on the road during this season. Here's a list of essential items recommended for keeping in vehicles during winter, along with a list of items to avoid leaving in the car.
1. Snowbrush and Ice Scraper:
- Keep a sturdy snowbrush and ice scraper to clear snow and ice from your vehicle's windows, lights, and mirrors.
2. Winter Tires:
- Consider switching to winter tires for better traction on snow and ice-covered roads. You may even qualify for a discount on your insurance if you make the switch!
3. Blankets or Sleeping Bags:
- In case of a breakdown or emergency, having extra warmth is crucial. Blankets or sleeping bags can provide insulation.
4. Warm Clothing:
- Pack extra winter clothing, such as hats, gloves, scarves, and insulated boots, in case you need to venture outside your vehicle.
- Keep a flashlight with extra batteries to aid visibility in the dark or during a roadside emergency.
6. Jumper Cables:
- Cold weather can be tough on car batteries. Jumper cables can help start your car if the battery dies.
7. First Aid Kit:
- A basic first aid kit is essential year-round. Include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
8. Portable Shovel:
- A small shovel can be handy for digging your vehicle out of snow or clearing a path if you get stuck.
9. Traction Aids:
- Sand or cat litter can be used to provide traction if your vehicle gets stuck in the snow or ice.
10. Emergency Flares or Reflective Triangles:
- Increase visibility during low-light conditions or emergencies with flares or reflective triangles.
11. Non-Perishable Snacks:
- Pack high-energy snacks like granola bars, nuts, or dried fruits in case you find yourself stranded.
12. Water Bottles:
- Carry a supply of water in case you need it, especially if you're travelling to areas with limited services. Try and avoid plastic water bottles, the plastic bottles can crack if the water inside freezes and expands.
13. Windshield Washer Fluid:
- Use a winter-grade windshield washer fluid that won't freeze in low temperatures.
14. Cell Phone Charger:
- Ensure you have a way to charge your phone in case you need to call for assistance.
15. Car Emergency Kit:
- Consider purchasing a pre-packaged car emergency kit, which may include items like a multi-tool, tire pressure gauge, and other essential items.
16. Road Map or GPS:
- Even if you have a GPS on your phone, it's good to have a paper map as a backup in case of technology failure.
17. Full Tank of Gas:
- Try to keep your gas tank at least half full during the winter to prevent fuel line freezing and to ensure you have enough fuel in case of delays.
Remember to regularly check and update your winter car kit to make sure everything is in good condition and that you have all the necessary items for safe winter driving in Ontario.
What Should You Not Keep in Your Car in The Winter?
Certain items should be avoided in your car during the winter to ensure safety, prevent damage, and maintain optimal vehicle performance. Here are some things you should not keep in your car during the winter:
- Extremely cold temperatures can damage electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and cameras. If possible, avoid leaving these items in your car for extended periods in freezing conditions.
- Some medications can be negatively affected by extreme temperatures. Check with your pharmacist or healthcare provider to determine if your medications have specific storage requirements.
3. Canned or Bottled Beverages:
- Liquids, including canned or bottled beverages, can freeze and expand, potentially causing containers to burst. This can create a mess and, in the case of carbonated drinks, lead to a sticky and difficult-to-clean situation.
4. Aerosol Cans:
- Aerosol cans, such as deodorant, air fresheners, or spray paints, are sensitive to temperature changes. They can leak or explode if exposed to extreme cold.
5. Musical Instruments:
- Musical instruments, especially those made of wood, can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Extreme cold can cause the wood to contract, affecting the instrument's structural integrity and tuning.
6. Pressurized Containers:
- Items like sunscreen, bug spray, or certain cleaning products often come in pressurized containers. These can be at risk of leaking or bursting in freezing temperatures.
7. Plastic Water Bottles:
- While water itself won't be damaged by cold temperatures, the plastic bottles can crack if the water inside freezes and expands. Consider using insulated water bottles or removing plastic bottles when temperatures drop.
8. Disposable Lighters:
- The fluid inside disposable lighters can be affected by cold temperatures, potentially causing them to malfunction or not work at all.
9. Certain Foods:
- Perishable items, especially those prone to freezing, may spoil or change consistency when exposed to extreme cold. Avoid leaving items like fruits, vegetables, or dairy products in the car for an extended period.
10. Sensitive Documents:
- Important documents, such as passports, legal papers, or sensitive materials, should not be left in the car during winter. Extreme cold can damage paper and make it brittle.
- Leaving pets unattended in a car during winter can be dangerous, as the cold temperatures can pose a threat to their health and well-being.
Remember that extreme cold can have varying effects on different items, so it's generally a good practice to avoid leaving anything in your car that may be sensitive to temperature fluctuations or that could pose safety risks.
The Importance of Comprehensive Car Insurance in the Winter
As mentioned above, winter in Ontario can bring harsh weather conditions, including snow, ice, and freezing rain. These conditions increase the likelihood of accidents, collisions, and damage to vehicles. Having comprehensive car insurance plays a crucial role in mitigating the financial risks associated with these seasonal challenges.
Beyond the typical coverage for collisions, comprehensive insurance steps in to address non-collision incidents that are prevalent during winter. From damages caused by falling ice and branches to unforeseen encounters with wildlife, this type of coverage provides a vital layer of protection. As winter conditions can be unpredictable, having comprehensive insurance ensures that you are financially safeguarded against a range of potential risks. It's a pragmatic choice, offering peace of mind and practical support when facing the unique hazards that winter weather can bring, ultimately minimizing the financial impact of unexpected events on your vehicle.
At Youngs Insurance Brokers, our commitment is to empower you with the right car insurance coverage tailored to your unique needs. As seasoned brokers, our team understands the ever-evolving landscape of insurance, especially in the context of changing seasons and driving conditions. We're not just here to provide coverage; we're here to be your partners in risk management. Whether you're looking to update your policy, have questions about your coverage, or simply want a thorough review, our experienced team is just a conversation away. Don't hesitate to reach out—your journey with comprehensive and reliable car insurance begins here.
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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your insurance broker or insurance company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a licensed insurance broker for personalized advice and guidance.