Depending where you live in Canada, harsh winter conditions can last from three to six months. While you might be inclined to cocoon yourself in a down-filled blanket, life goes on. For your commute to the office, dropping the kids off at school, and grabbing your weekly groceries, you’ll need to brave the cold, blustery road conditions.

But driving in Canadian winters is more than uncomfortable. Around three in ten car accidents in Canada happen on snowy or icy roads. Safety is paramount when it comes to getting behind the wheel, and Carfuffle has you covered. Here are six tips to help you navigate winter driving conditions safely.

Clear Your Windows Completely Before Hitting the Road

Every province has its own laws when it comes to driving with an obstructed view. If you choose to hit the road without fully clearing your windows of snow and ice, you could be committing a traffic offence. And although it’s frustrating and costly to pay a traffic ticket like the $110 fine in Ontario, it would be even worse if you caused an accident because of it.

Before leaving your parking spot, completely clear the snow and ice from your car’s windows. That entails keeping a good-quality snow brush in your car.

Keep Your Maintenance Up to Date

Routine maintenance is about more than just keeping your car in working order. It’s also going to get you the best performance possible year-round. Clean, synthetic oil can help your engine start easier and is more fluid at extremely cold temperatures. A brake fluid flush takes moisture out of the system that could cause inconsistent braking performance. A fully-charged battery will prevent no-starts when the temperature is dangerously cold.

Follow the manufacturer’s service guide to ensure you don’t break down unexpectedly this winter.

Install a Full Set of Winter Tires

All-season tires become as hard and slippery as hockey pucks when the temperature dips below 7C. Because traction is so important for steering, accelerating, and braking, it only makes sense to operate with winter tires when it gets cold.

Install a set of four winter tires on your vehicle to ensure confident traction, then switch back to your all-season tires when weather is consistently above 7C.

Eliminate Distractions

Many winter accidents in Canada can be avoided if you’re paying close attention to the road and other vehicles around you. It might be a little boring but turn down the music and ask passengers to limit their discussion so you can focus on driving. And for goodness sake, do not check your cell phone while you’re in the driver’s seat. Not only is it a major contributor to collisions, but it’s illegal across the country.

Drive Cautiously and Controlled

Whether you have a 4WD truck, an AWD SUV, or a FWD car, the same respect needs to be paid to road conditions. Harsh winters in Canada mean snow-packed roads or black ice are a threat to everyone. Let off the gas and drive according to the conditions. That may mean traveling at lower than the posted speed limit or leaving earlier than usual for your commute, but it will help ensure you get there safely.

Keep the Fuel Tank Full

There are two types of people: those who drive until the gas light comes on, and those get nervous when the fuel gauge dips below half. In winter, a full fuel tank is actually a safer situation. Not only do you avoid the possibility of running out of gas stuck in traffic or if the fuel station closes early in inclement weather, but it’s better for your car.

Fuel acts as a lubricant and coolant for the fuel pump. If you run out of fuel or there’s excessive moisture in the tank because you’re low on gas, it can cause your fuel pump to freeze up or burn out. It might be covered by your Carfuffle extended warranty, but it’s a position you want to avoid if at all possible.

Cold and ice can cause issues with your car that you might not expect. Avoid surprise car repair bills by protecting your vehicle with a Carfuffle extended warranty. Comprehensive plans are available for virtually any make and model of any year to ensure you have a reliable mode of transportation in any road conditions.