Winter Road Trip Checklist – For Winter Driving Adventures

Winter road trips can be challenging and unpredictable. Be prepared by following these tips – our ultimate winter road trip checklist


  • #1: use winter tires, 4 of them, and check the pressure (info on your door jamb). Even if it’s not snowing, winter tires offer better traction in temperatures below 7 degrees C.

“The worst winter tire is better than the best summer tire”

Your tires are the only thing connecting you to the pavement. Tires are (one of the, if not..) the single most important thing on your vehicle (some may argue…) If I had limited funds for my vehicle and could only spend it on one thing, I would spend it on Tires.

Emergency Kit & Essential Items

Keep essential items in your car in case of an emergency

  • Water or drinks (even though it may freeze!)
  • Non-perishable high energy snacks (energy bars, nuts)
  • Flash lights with extra batteries
  • Candles
  • Waterproof matches
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Waterproof tarp or poncho
  • Blanket
  • Sand or kitty litter (use when stuck also adds weight)
  • Shovel
  • Booster cables / battery charger
  • Flares
  • Glow sticks
  • Rope
  • Bright scarf (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Tools
  • Paper towel
  • Spare tire(s)
  • Maps
  • Extra wind shield washer fluid (anti-freeze)
  • Extra oil or coolant
  • Auto emergency kit
  • Snow scraper
  • Extra socks, mittens, boots, jackets, fully charged cell phone

Vehicle maintenance

  • Have your vehicle checked by a mechanic before you go
  • Check your headlights, signals and tail lights/brake lights
  • Consider getting a BCAA or other roadside assistance membership
  • Always keep your fuel topped up (although, don’t top it up and then park)

Did you know?

  • Save

  • You can use your sun visor or hub cap instead of a shovel
  • You can burn engine oil inside a hub cap that can be used as a smoke signal seen for miles
  • You could remove your rear-view mirror and use it as a signalling device
  • A seat cover could be used as a blanket
  • You can put plastic bags around your feet to retain heat

If you get stuck or stranded

  • Stay with your vehicle unless you are 100% certain you can reach help. If you leave, you may or may not last very long in the cold weather. Your vehicle can at least provide shelter from the harsh elements. Attach a bright marker to your antenna. If you run the vehicle, make sure the exhaust is clear to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning (you can not see or smell it)
  • Test the traction from time to time & Leave more distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Extra Special Tips

  • Don’t drive away with the coffee cup still on your roof/trunk! Also don’t drive away with your gas cap on your roof! (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience. )
  • Check your headlights and tail lights from time to time and clear off any snow. How are other people supposed to see your turn signals if they’re covered in snow?
  • Test the traction in a big empty parking lot. You should learn the limits and behaviour of your vehicle in a safe environment whenever possible
  • Never take pictures while driving! Stop and stretch, or get your passenger to take a pic, or get a dash-mounted camera.
  • There is nothing wrong with being in love with your car. (Yes I know, that was a totally random comment)
Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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