Canadian winters are tough. From coast-to-coast we all need to be prepared for winter’s wrath. Follow these tips to help stay safe when the temperature drops.
Winterize your home
High winds, significant snowfall and freezing rain are examples of winter weather that can be damaging to your home. Help protect your property by taking these simple steps:
Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home and regularly test them
Ensure your furnace, wood stove and any other heating sources are in good working condition. Have them inspected, maintained and serviced. During the heating season, clean or replace furnace air filters each month
If you go on vacation during the heating season, even for a few days, leave the heat on and have someone you trust check on your home while you are away. Failing to do so can affect your coverage
Run water through all plumbing fixtures regularly to avoid freezing
Know where plumbing shut-off valves are located so you can shut off the water if a pipe were to freeze and burst
Inspect your attic for frost accumulation and check your eavestroughs and roof for potential ice dams or icicles
Keep the sidewalk and the front of your home clear of snow and ice
Keep snow away from gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows
Detach garden hoses and trim branches near your home
Prevent freezing of pipes by fitting exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping
Slips, trips and falls
Whether you're driving or walking on slippery surfaces, make sure to keep these tips in mind to avoid potential ice hazards. Regular maintenance is essential – especially during the colder months.
Use salt, shovel and/or sand to keep walking surfaces clear of ice and snow
In some places a bylaw requires you to clear sidewalks in front of your property
Wear sturdy footwear with good grip and put a non-slip covering over slippery surfaces
Repair or replace loose and missing stair handrails
Be aware that black ice can look like wet pavement
Ensuring all areas are adequately lit
Learn more about how to manage risks at home
Regardless of where you live or your experience level, winter driving can be challenging. To help ensure a safe drive, keep these simple precautions in mind before you hit the road.
Drive according to the road conditions
Follow warnings from Environment Canada’s local weather offices
Maintain your car
Check your vehicle’s battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, ignition system and tires regularly
Check the wipers regularly and carry an extra jug of windshield-washer fluid in your vehicle
Inspect the tires and check the tire pressure at least once a month in cold weather
Install four winter tires
Winter tires allow you to stop up to 40% sooner than all-season tires and significantly improve your vehicle’s handling in winter weather
In some provinces it is required by law
Keep the gas tank topped up
Always carry an emergency kit
Include a flashlight, batteries, blankets, a candle, matches/lighter, hazard markers/flares, a snow shovel, an ice scraper and brush, the phone number of a local towing company, sand, booster cables and even food
Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to arrive
Bring a map or GPS and have an alternative route planned
Carry a charged cell phone and have a charger in your car
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Ice and snow protection
Canadians know that winter weather can be difficult to navigate. Be prepared for snow and ice with these helpful tips.