With the threat of less-than-ideal driving conditions this week, a meteorologist is warning all motorists to be extra careful when venturing out onto roadways.

Natalie Hasell with Environment Canada says if you are headed out onto the road, you should make sure your vehicle is in good working order. This includes ensuring your fluids are topped up and you have plenty of gas.

"So that if you do end up on the highway unexpectedly stalled or stranded, you can be a little bit more comfortable than you would be otherwise," she says. "You can run the engine and keep yourself warm."

Hasell reminds motorists that when stranded, distances are difficult to gauge on the highway. This is because you are used to travelling at 100 kilometres per hour.

"So that thing in the distance when you are travelling with speed, is not that far, you can get there in a few minutes," she says. "But when you are on foot, that thing in the distance is really far usually."


Furthermore, she says in reduced visibilities, it can be very difficult to keep track of what you think might be shelter in the distance. And, if you end up turning around, you may not locate your vehicle again.

Hasell says if you get stranded and your vehicle is still intact, you should stay put, as it will already be offering you shelter. 

"It's so much easier to find people when they are in their cars than when they are out of their cars," she adds.

Before heading out, Hasell says you should always let someone know where you are going and how long you expect it will take for you to get there. That way, if you do not arrive at the expected time, your loved ones can begin calling your cell phone. For that reason, she says it is extremely important to drive with cell phone charging cables. 


Hasell also reminds all motorists to have an emergency kit in the vehicle. Your kit should include the following items:

  • food that will not spoil, such as energy bars
  • water in plastic bottles so they will not break if frozen (change every six months)
  • blanket
  • extra clothing and shoes
  • first aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • small shovel, scraper and snow brush
  • candle in a deep can and matches
  • wind-up flashlight
  • whistle, in case you need to attract attention
  • roadmaps
  • copy of your emergency plan and personal documents

Hasell says you should also have the following items in your trunk:

  • sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
  • tow rope
  • jumper cables
  • fire extinguisher
  • warning light or road flares