With summer in the rear-view mirror and many Niagara residents swapping sandals for boots, now is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for colder weather, says CAA Niagara.
October is typically when the club’s Emergency Roadside Department starts to see calls increase, with 7,950 roadside calls in 2018, a 10 per cent increase over the month prior.
"Cautious driving and vehicle maintenance can make a world of difference as the weather conditions worsen," said Dave Moreno, Associate Director, Emergency Roadside Services. "We receive many calls during the fall season that could be easily avoided by adjusting driving habits and preparing your vehicle"
Heavier rainfall in autumn can result in reduced visibility and slippery driving conditions. Ontario will experience above-average precipitation from October to November, according to Environment Canada
“More rain means poor visibility; pair that with worn-out tires and the chances of an accident increase,” added Mr. Moreno. “Check your vehicle’s wipers and get them replaced if they are cracked or not making proper contact with the windshield and remember that a drop in temperature can affect your tire pressure, so check it and top-up often.”
Here are some simple things you can do to be ready for whatever these next few months bring:
1. Give yourself time: Leaving a few minutes earlier than usual reduces the temptation to speed in order to get to where you need to be on time.
2. Leave more room: Give yourself extra room between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Slippery conditions can cause your vehicle to slide further than usual when quickly braking.
3. Check your battery: Be proactive. Have your battery checked and avoid letting your car sit for more than 24 hours without running. The longer the vehicle sits, the more likely the battery is to fail.
4. Take care of your tires: Know when it is time to change your tires or purchase a new set. Check your tire tread and watch for cracking. If you have a set of snow tires, be sure to install them when temperatures reach 8 degrees consistently.
5. Put your snow brush in your trunk now: We might be reluctant to pull our trusty snow brush out of the shed or garage while daytime temperatures are still comfortably in the double-digits; however, frost and flurries can easily sneak up and catch us unprepared.
6. Have a “winter-ready kit”: This might seem premature, but the nights are already getting quite cold and a well-stocked winter car kit will keep you safe in the event of an emergency. The kit could include blankets, water, snacks, a flashlight, a portable phone charger, a first aid kit, and a shovel.
More safe driving information can be found online on the CAA website.
Founded in 1911 as the St. Catharines Automobile Club with just 16 members, CAA Niagara has grown to more than 137,000 members with five Niagara locations including Thorold. A not-for-profit membership organization, CAA Niagara provides emergency road services, travel, insurance and member rewards.