Winter Driving (Sucks)

Most of us learn this years before we ever get behind the wheel: winter weather can cause delays, unexpected conditions and it can be dangerous. But these driving challenges are part of being Canadian, and Atlantic Canada is certainly no exception.

To help Canadians prepare for winter driving, CAA partnered with Transport Canada and released an e-book listing the top 10 winter driving safety tips drivers need to know. We guarantee even seasoned drivers (forgive the pun) will learn something new.

Download a copy today!


More Winter Driving Safety Tips from CAA

Prepare your Vehicle

Winter weather is hard on your vehicle and its engine. Prepare for winter in the fall, by getting a complete check-up of your:

Battery: Your motor needs a fully charged battery to start in cold weather. Have your battery tested in the fall and spring. Replace weak batteries before they fail. 

Ignition System: Replace defective ignition wires, cracked distributor caps and worn spark plugs, since they can make starting difficult or may cause a sudden breakdown.

Lights: Make sure that all lights work and that headlights are properly aimed.

Brakes: Check or service your brakes to ensure even braking. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean they need repair.


  • Winter tires help reduce breaking distance on cold, wet, ice and snow-covered roads by up to 25 per cent.
  • Winter tires stay flexible in cold temperatures and ensure excellent grip and braking on wet roads.
  • Check pressures often, especially before any highway driving. Properly inflated, high quality winter tires will give you best traction. A tire that has good pressure when checked in a warm garage will be under-inflated when it is below zero outside – because tire pressure goes down in the cold.
  • Since having four matching tires improves vehicle handling, don’t mix tires with different tread patterns.

Exhaust System: Check for leaks that could send deadly carbon monoxide into your vehicle.

Windshield Wipers:

Make sure that your wipers are in good condition. Replace blades that streak. Purchase wipers designed for winter use. Fill up on winter washer fluid in the -40°Ctemperature range and carry an extra jug in your vehicle.


Prepare the Driver

Avoid the Great Canadian Memory Loss – this is a phenomena where Canadian drivers forget what it is like to drive in winter conditions.

The safest strategy is to avoid driving in bad weather conditions. If you must drive, check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Give yourself extra time for travel and, if weather is bad, wait for conditions to improve. Make sure you have enough fuel. Try to keep the fuel tank at least half-full.

See and be seen. Remove all snow from your vehicle’s hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all windows of frost and fog.

Stay on main roads and drive carefully: Match your speed to the road and weather conditions. Avoid passing an­other vehicle when weather and road conditions are bad.

Pack a winter survival kit. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA®) recommends you keep the following items in your trunk.

  • shovel
  • sand or kitty litter
  • traction mats
  • warning light or road flares
  • emergency food pack
  • matches and a “survival” candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
  • fire extinguisher
  • extra windshield washer fluid
  • reflective vest
  • ice scraper and brush
  • flashlight
  • first aid kit
  • toque
  • blanket (special “survival” blankets are best)

Don’t do any heavy lifting, shoveling or pushing in the bitter cold – it can kill.

Do make sure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow, to keep carbon monoxide from getting into your vehicle. Then, if your vehicle is not at risk of being hit by other drivers, stay inside so you have shelter. Going out into a storm puts you at risk of getting lost, or suffering from the cold.


Featured CAA Member Story

Nothing But Praise

I have nothing but praise for Tim Moore, the gentleman who was sent in response to my Roadside Assistance call. He was very pleasant to deal with. It was a Saturday evening when I called to request assistance with a tire that was losing pressure. He inflated the tire and examined it for the possible source of the problem. When I expressed concern to him about not being able to get an appointment at a garage to have the tire checked before a trip I needed to make to Fredericton Monday morning, he went above and beyond by offering to return as his first call of the day and ensure I had adequate pressure for the trip. True to his word, he was in my driveway inflating my tire at just after 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, without me even making a call. He was about to drive off before I could even thank him, but I did manage to get his attention as he was about to pull away so that I could say “Thank you”. He also recommended a CAA approved garage (Brian Pellerin’s Auto Pro) that he promised would treat me fairly and provide good service, which they did. I'm so grateful to him for recommending this garage, as I felt very comfortable dealing with them and wouldn’t hesitate to go back to them in the future. When I mentioned his name to them, they said that they hear lots of great things about him from other CAA Members also, and that he is a real asset to CAA. Please tell Tim that Mary Lou says “Thank You” (and tell him the source of the problem was a nail embedded in the tire!).  
Although I didn’t have as much interaction with Angela, the agent who took my call that Saturday night, she was very nice to deal with also.
My membership paid for itself with this positive experience!

Thank You Again for the Terrific Service

I just wanted to thank Guilda and Isabelle (from the Moncton Member Service Centre) for the time and effort they spent on getting a reservation situation resolved the week of June 12. I'm very grateful they were there when I needed help. The new hotel, The Margate, was terrific and was actually closer to the concert I was attending than the original one would have been. 


Thank you again for the terrific service, I can't really say it enough! 


Kevin & Sharon 

2 Days In A Row

I had never used CAA since I became a Member in 2016 and this past weekend I had to use it 2 days in a row. I was simply amazed at the good service. Unbelievable. Tow truck drivers were really professional, courteous, and helpful. Everything was good about the whole experience. I can't say enough good stuff about the whole experience.

We're very happy campers... I mean Members!

I was at the parking garage at the Halifax Airport. My wife came back from a trip to Europe. She arrived, surprisingly, 10 minutes early, so we thought to get home early too. We had to travel 220 km to Bear River, N.S. The suitcases were loaded...ready to take off...but the old Mercedes didn't start. After many attempts to start it we gave up and called CAA. They came within 20 minutes, pulled us out off the Airport garage to the next gas station. Within 5 minutes a flatbed truck showed up, pulled the car on it and drove us home to Bear River. The driver was a very safe and friendly driver, he knew his stuff. So I have to say that the CAA service was 100 % perfect. On time, professional people, good job. We're very happy campers... I mean Members!

A Wonderful Experience

I just wanted to tell you about the wonderful experience I had today with CAA Roadside Assistance. I was in Fredericton for work and locked my keys in my car. I panicked because I had to be back in Saint John to pick up my children from daycare and just didn't have time for this. I called CAA at 3:25pm and the lady said someone would be there within the hour. Within 5 min my saving grace Tovey arrived and had my doors open in no time. I was on the road by 3:40pm. I couldn't have asked for better service . Tovey was so very nice and friendly. I'm sure people are quick to complain, so I wanted to take the time to let you know that my first experience with CAA Roadside Assistance was extremely positive and Tovey represented your company in such a great way. THANK YOU!

I am very pleased to be a CAA Member!

My wish today is to let CAA know how much I appreciated their response to a battery problem I experienced last week and how pleased I was that employee Roger appeared to give me a boost.  In fact, Roger had to return a second time.  He was knowledgeable, pleasant, efficient and helped turn what could have been a very ill timed car difficulty into a moment far less difficult.  I have complimented Roger's assistance to many of my friends.  I am very pleased to be a CAA Member and even moreso that Roger was there to help me out.

One of the "A's" in CAA MUST stand for "angels"!

Well, it's been a little over a week since we've returned from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida trip that you planned for us.

I had to email you to tell you how incredibly grateful I am to you for your care, patience and professionalism.

The boys and my aunt Mary Lynn and I had the time of our lives in Florida. The Caribbean Beach resort? Absolutely amazing. The Dining plan? So worth it! It was with heavy hearts that we took off our Magic Bands at the airport for the return trip!

All I can think about is getting on a plane and going right back!

Again, thank you so very much - one of the "A's" in CAA MUST stand for "angels"!

Thank you so much to CAA and Rick!!

On March 17th, we were driving to the Saint John Regional Hospital as my mother was scheduled for surgery.  On the way there, we hit a huge pothole and noticed when we got to the hospital parking lot that the front left tire looked flat.  With no time to spare, we rushed into the hospital and resolved to look at the tire later.

We called CAA later in the day and Rick from Loyalist City Towing showed up promptly.   It turns out that the tire wasn't flat, it was just very low on air (as were the others).  Rick filled up all 4 tires and advised us to get them looked at (which we have).

His prompt, professional and cheerful service, on a brutally cold March day, was amazing!  Worrying about having a flat tire was the last thing we needed that day.

Thank you so much to CAA and Rick!!

Random Act of Kindness

I would like to report a random act of kindness that one of your drivers, Rick, performed for me. This man is incredible. He noticed that I had a flat tire in a parking lot in Uptown Saint John, he pumped it up and left me a note on the back of an envelope under my windshield.  I didn’t come out of work until 7pm that night and I thought “ugh, there’s some crummy flyer” and here was this wonderful, wonderful message telling me that I should get my tire checked (which I’ve done).  I guess maybe I should join CAA! I’m showing this to everybody. I am so, so impressed and thankful for what Rick did!

A Friendly Voice in a Stressful Situation

I have purchased my CAA Membership for years for that "just in case" senario.  Well, this year I am so glad I kept up my Membership. This past winter I have had flat tires twice. The most scary one was at 9:00pm at night, on a dark road in winter and a very cold night. I called for roadside assistance and the agent was a friendly voice in a stressful situation. Even trying to describe where I was located was a challenge but he walked me through it. It was a cold night -15 with the wind chill and I was so happy when I saw the repair flatbed pull up behind my vehicle and put the emergency lights on. I had not seen another car in a long time and he was a light in a dark night. The truck driver had to get the spare under the car and all the while he was extremely friendly and calmed my nerves and made a stressful situation bearable. He left me with a smile and a bit of welcome advice, "remember, we are here when you need us". That night CAA was where and when I needed them and I will continue to be a loyal customer.  Keep up the great work!