Winter Driving Emergencies: Ready Or Not?

Bitter cold, snow, slippery roads, and unpredictable weather conditions are
just a few elements of a winter that might come and can make driving conditions
risky. You can't change the weather however you can prepare for it.

Firstly, if weather conditions are nasty, the safest thing to do is delay your
trip and stay put until the road and weather conditions improve. If you really
must drive, check the weather and road conditions before you head out and
prepare yourself for any emergency that you may encounter. This means keeping a
well-stocked winter driving emergency kit in your vehicle.

Keep the following items in your vehicle for emergencies:

Get unstuck

  • shovel

  • bag of sand, salt, kitty litter

  • traction mats

  • tire chains

  • tow chain

  • battery booster cables

  • spare tire, wheel wrench and jack

Keep it clear

  • snow brush

  • ice scraper

  • extra anti-freezing windshield wiper fluid

  • roll of paper towels or cloth

See and be seen

  • road flares, emergency lights or other colourful help signs

  • reflective vest

  • flashlight (and extra batteries)

Stranded? Stay safe and warm

  • blanket or sleeping bag

  • extra clothing, gloves and warm footwear

  • empty can for melting snow

  • matches or lighter

  • emergency candles to heat a drink or for heat (to be used only with a window opened to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide)

  • snack bars or other "emergency" food and water

  • insulated bottle of hot beverage

  • first aid kit


  • road maps

  • fire extinguisher

  • fuel line anti-freeze/ de-icer

  • a fully charged cell phone

Don't panic

If you get stuck in a storm or bad weather, don't panic. Take the necessary
precautions to ensure that your vehicle will be seen by placing flares or help
signs around the vehicle. Be sure it is safe to leave your vehicle before you
do this to avoid getting hit by passing traffic. As much as possible, avoid
overexerting yourself and exposing yourself to the cold and snow.

Call for help and use the contents of your emergency kit to stay safe and warm
in your vehicle. Use your emergency candle carefully for heat and open your
window slightly to ensure that you have a supply of fresh air. Don't run the
engine with the window closed as you may become exposed to dangerous exhaust
fumes. Remember, we can't predict the weather, however we can prepare for it.

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety