Living in a Winter Wonderland


The official first day of winter is just around the corner, but we have already had our fair share of winter weather and driving conditions.  We thought it may be helpful to review some important and helpful winter driving and winter maintenance tips for the 2019-2020 season.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Winterizing your vehicle and ensuring that it is in good running condition is always recommended before heading out on the road in cold weather. If you are not mechanically inclined, most autobody shops offer a basic “winterization” package.

Important items to check are:

– Tires (now is a good time to put on those winter tires, if you haven’t already! Check out our 2018 post about winter tires here!)
– Hoses and belts
– Battery
– Brakes
– Heater and Defroster
– Wiper Blades, washer fluid and antifreeze

Emergency Safety Kit

It is also a good idea to carry an emergency safety kit in your vehicle, especially when traveling long distances.

Important items to include are:

– Food (non-perishable items) and water
– Extra clothing, including boots, toques, mitts, and gloves
– Ice scraper and snow brush
– Blanket, candles and matches
– Shovel and tow ropes
– Flares and flashlight
– Maps
– Sand/salt (or kitty litter)
– Jumper cables (good to have year-round)

Note: many retailers, such as Canadian Tire, sell emergency safety kits that contain most of these items.

Drive Safe

When winter driving, take extra caution and stay up-to-date on weather and road conditions. In the event of a storm, it is best to stay off the road if at all possible. It is also good to regularly check your tire pressure, clear windows and clean headlights and tail lights, and keep your fuel tank at minimum 1/2 full.

In addition to winter driving tips, we thought it may be helpful to provide a few tips on preparing your home and yard for the cold.

Winterize Your Home

– Have your furnace inspected, and if necessary, cleaned to ensure it is in good working condition
– Check your roof for damage or loose/missing shingles that may leak during winter storms or from melting snow
– Caulk around windows and door frames to prevent drafts and leaks, and apply weather stripping around doors as needed
– Clean gutters to avoid the backing up of water, leaks, or ice build up
– Add extensions to downspouts so water runs at least three to four feet away from your home’s foundation
– Turn off exterior faucets and disconnect and drain the hoses to prevent freezing
– If possible, mulch your leaves so that they decompose and nourish your lawn over winter
– Have your chimney and vents cleaned to ensure they are in good working condition to prevent fires and carbon monoxide from getting into your home
– Restock your winter essentials, such as salt, ice melt, and of course… shovels

If you are planning a trip away over the winter season, remember to check your Homeowner’s policy wordings (or contact your broker)! Some policies limit coverage or have specific requirements if you are away from your home for a certain period of time during the winter.

Hopefully you have found these winter driving and maintenance tips helpful. 

Thank you and stay warm and drive safe this winter,

The Costen Insurance Team