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  • Selina Barker

Preparing for Bad Weather Driving

team of firefighters stopping a fire from jumping the highway with a smoke plume from the fire in the background
Photo by Malachi Brooks on Unsplash

When we think of bad weather, we often picture rain or storms. But there are many types of weather that are dangerous to drive in. Hazards can even appear on a clear, dry day.


With wildfire season now ramping up around North America, it is important to prepare your vehicle for a potentially hazardous driving situation.


Keep Your Vehicle in Top Shape


Periodically do a 360-degree walk-around of your car to check the headlights, taillights, and any cameras or sensors it is equipped with. Have someone sit inside the car to press the brakes and turn on the headlights and high beams while you ensure everything is functional and clear.


All windshield wipers should be replaced every 6-12 months to keep them in good working condition to improve visibility.


Keep your windshield wiper fluid topped up and use it whenever you need to clear the windshield of dirt or other visual impediments. As an added precaution, keep an extra container of all-season fluid in your car. If the automatic sprayer isn’t doing the job, you can apply the washer fluid to the outside of the windshield by hand with a clean, soft cloth to clear tough grime.


“You can also clean your windshield by hand with soap and water, followed by glass cleaner, to more wholly get the windshield it’s cleanest so you can clearly see through it from all angles.”

Make a Plan


Familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures recommended and observed by your city. Subscribe to emergency weather alerts that may be available for your region and be aware of current news regarding driving conditions on the routes you may travel.


“Create a plan that includes evacuation routes, a communication strategy, and a designated meeting place. Consider the specific needs of all household members, including older adults, those with special health needs, children, pets, and service animals.”

Equip a Kit


Adverse weather can present unique conditions that you would not normally find yourself in or think you need to prepare for. Having an emergency preparedness kit stowed safely in your car at all times could save your life.


Pack a bag with water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, clothing, a warm coat and blanket, a flashlight, extra batteries, and important documents. A multi-tool, cash, and power bank that is compatible with your cell phone are also handy tools that could prove advantageous in a pinch.


Here is a comprehensive car safety kit from the Government of Canada that you can print and keep on-hand. Store your kit in an easily accessible area in your car.


On the Road


Never attempt to drive on roads covered in more than a few inches of water or through areas with wildfires. Choose a route far away from hazards like fire and flooding. Downed power lines are also a hazard, as they may be live, so stay at least 10 metres away unless directed by emergency officials.


If you need to evacuate, make sure everyone in your house is accounted for, including pets. If you have the space and some time, check on your neighbours or people you know who live alone. In case they have no safe evacuation plan, you may consider offering them a ride with you to a secure location. Tell a trusted person outside your area when you are leaving, what route you plan to take, and where you are going.


These tips are just some of the ways Alertdriving is working to keep you safer on the roads. Browse our website to learn about our safe driving lessons.


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