Today is the official first day of winter. I don’t know who decides these things, but it seems to me winter has been lingering about for a couple of weeks now. Seeing as old man winter has officially returned, it seems only fitting to address one of the most dreaded winter activities: driving. Below you’ll find some tips to help you stay safe on the winter roads.

1. Invest in a good set of winter tires.

The rubber used to make winter tires stays softer in chilly temperatures which gives you a better grip on slippery roads.

2. Maintain your vehicle.

Get your breaks, battery and windshield whippers checked. Keep spare windshield washer fluid in your car and try to keep your gas tank at least half full to help prevent freezing gas lines.

3. Be prepared.

Along with the standard ice scraper and a pair of warm winter gloves, it’s a good idea to put together an emergency kit with winter travel in mind. Some useful items to include are:

  • a warm blanket and warm clothes
  • flashlights
  • a shovel
  • a bag of sand to help create friction if you get stuck
  • non-perishable snacks and water
  • some flares
  • booster cables

4. Keep an eye on the weather.

Check the weather reports before embarking on any trips, especially long distance ones. If the driving conditions are poor and you don’t have to travel, it’s best to stay indoors and off the roads.

5. Go slow in snow.

If you do have to drive, give yourself lots of extra time, take it slow and be extra diligent. Remember, even if you can drive well in the snow, that doesn’t mean all the other drivers can.