Here’s What to Pack in Your Car’s Winter Emergency Kit

Frozen Windshield | High River, AB

As cold temperatures and snow arrive in High River, Alberta, don’t get caught unprepared — take steps now to get your vehicle ready for a winter emergency. Here are some of the most important supplies you should keep in your car in case you get stuck or stranded in dangerous conditions.

Winter Items

A blanket, extra clothes, and extra shoes or boots will come in handy to shield you from the cold. Your emergency kit should also include a big can, a candle, and matches, which you can use to warm the car’s interior. You’ll also want to pack a small shovel, ice scraper, and snow brush. Stash a bag of sand, salt, or non-clumping cat litter in the trunk — these can provide crucial traction if you get stuck in ice or snow.

General Items

No matter the time of year, it’s a good idea to keep nonperishable food and some water in your car. Make sure the water is stored in bottles that won’t break if they freeze. Other handy items to bring along include a first aid kit and seatbelt cutter, a wind-up flashlight, road maps, and a whistle to draw attention. You’ll also want to keep jumper cables, warning flares, and a fire extinguisher in the trunk.

While you’re putting together your emergency kit, be sure to also bring your vehicle in to High River Toyota for seasonal maintenance. We can change your oil, check your brakes, install snow tires, and provide a variety of other services to get your vehicle ready for winter.

How to De-Ice Your Windshield in a Hurry This Winter

Car Frozen Windshield | High River, AB

Getting up in the morning and dealing with an iced-over windshield is one of winter’s many little annoyances here in High River, Alberta. Fortunately, with a little prep, you can quickly clear your windshield and be on your way instead of spending several minutes chipping away at the ice or waiting for your car to warm up.

De-icer spray is the key

With a few squirts of de-icer spray, you’ll be well on your way to a clear windshield. These sprays are widely available in stores, or you can make your own. For one easy homemade spray, dissolve two teaspoons of salt into a spray bottle filled with water. You could also mix one part water and two parts 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Squirt and scrape

De-icer solutions have a lower freezing point than water, so you can always keep a bottle stashed in your vehicle. Spray a little on the windshield, and it will quickly thaw and loosen the ice so you can remove it with a brush and plastic scraper.

De-icing mistakes to avoid

Never pour hot water on your iced-over windshield. The sudden temperature change could make the glass crack. You should also avoid forcefully hacking at the ice or scraping it with metal, as these actions could end up damaging your windshield.

For all your winter vehicle maintenance needs, make an appointment with the service experts here at High River Toyota.

Driving Safety Tips for Rough Alberta Winters

Winter driving can be precarious, especially when the snow begins to accumulate throughout Alberta. If you’re wondering how you can stay safer during these chilly months, consider keeping these winter driving safety tips in mind.

s | High River Toyota | Calgary, AB

Keep a light touch on your brakes

Slamming on your brakes when roads are slick can cause a number of things to happen — including a skid. If you find yourself needing to stop quickly, remember to pump your brakes to help you stop without sliding.

Know your skids and how to get out of them

No matter how good you are at winter driving, you still may find yourself skidding on icy roads. If your front wheels have lost traction, simply ease off the gas pedal and steer your vehicle in the direction you want to go and don’t touch any of the pedals.

If you find yourself in a rear-wheel skid, you’ll want to turn your steering wheel into the direction the rear of the vehicle is moving, allowing your vehicle to straighten out. Once again, try not to use the pedals until you’re out of the skid.

Space yourself out from other vehicles

Increase your following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you’ll have time to stop in case anything happens with the vehicle in front of you.

Ensure you have good visibility

Before you head out, clear off your vehicle’s windows, hood, taillights, and headlights. This will help you see while driving. Be sure to clear off as much of the roof as possible so that you don’t send sheets of snow or ice at the vehicle behind you when driving.

Here at High River Toyota, we know it can be stressful to drive through our harsh Canadian winters. But with these tips, we hope you’ll have a safe experience on every journey.