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December 15, 2010

Guest blog: Being prepared for winter driving

Today's guest blog comes from Gordon Dewis, and was originally published on his blog, which you should visit often!
The recent winter storm in Southwestern Ontario has seen some people stuck in their cars for more than 24 hours. Hopefully, they have winter survival kits in their cars!

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website has some advice on how to be prepared for driving in the winter, including a list of things that should be in your survival kit:
  • Ice scraper/snowbrush
  • Shovel
  • Sand or other traction aid
  • Tow rope or chain
  • Booster cables
  • Road flares or warning lights
  • Gas line antifreeze
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Small tool kit
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Blanket
  • Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
  • Candle and a small tin can
  • Matches
Of the things on that list, I find the road flares sometimes difficult to find. There are different types available, but the ones I prefer are the CIL Safety Flares that are red tubes (which look like sticks of dynamite) that you pop the cap off and strike like a giant match. They burn in almost any weather condition and last for about 20 minutes (at least the ones I have). Because they’re not battery-powered, you don’t have to worry about the batteries not working in the cold or changing the batteries periodically. In the last couple of years, I’ve only been able to find them consistently at Home Hardware (click the link to take you to the product page). Acklands Grainger also has various road flare kits for reasonable prices.

If you’re going to be doing any driving this winter, you should seriously consider putting together a survival kit because you never know when you might need it.
Related: Ottawa Driving Guide

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