Driving South for the Holidays? Here are some winter driving and vacation tips.

November 15, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer


Many Canadians chose to drive into the southern United States to escapes from the winter cold for a week or even months at a time. Others head north for the certainty of snow for skiing or snowmobiling. There are several things you should consider before closing the front door and getting into your car.


Get your home ready


No one wants to come home to a flood or fire.


Before you leave the house make sure you have turned off and unplugged all your small appliances. Check the heating vent pipe or chimney are clear of snow and ice. Ensure your eaves and downspouts are not plugged up. Check your home insurance policy to see how often your house needs to be visited while you are gone. Arrange for a business, a friend or a neighbour to pop in regularly, shovel the driveway, collect the mail and flyers and inspect the home for busrst pipes, leaking hot water tank etc.


Be Prepared for the drive


  1. Winter driving is dangerous. Always check the forecast for your day’s drive before you head out. Almost 30% of car accidents and vehicle crashes happened on snow covered, wet and icy roads in 2017 according to the National Collision Database. If the forecast for the day’s drive is not promising consider delaying the drive by the day or leaving a day early and keeping your family safe from personal injury, or hours of terrible driving.
  2. Anticipate rush hour traffic on your drive so you can avoid major city traffic.
  3. Make sure you have washer fluid and an extra jug if you are travelling farther. Check your tire pressure, wiper blades and lighting system. 
  4. Remember to keep your tank full at night to prevent ice forming in your fuel supply.
  5. Keep an emergency kit in your car – a phone charger, cup and candle, some snack foods, a shovel, jumper cables, blanket, flares and a flashlight and some water. You may never need them, but if you do you’ll be thankful.
  6. Always have a heavy winter coat, hat mitts or gloves, and snow boots in the car. In the event you get stuck, slide off the road or are in a car accident the proper winter clothing can mean the difference between life and death.


If you are leaving the country


  1. Advise your credit card company you are travelling so they don’t block your card when foreign charges start coming through.
  2. Make sure you have health insurance in case you get sick while away. If you need medical attention the bills mount very quickly. You can buy the insurance quite cheaply by the day or week.
  3. Make sure your driver licence, insurance and car registration are valid.
  4. If you get into a car accident, follow the rules of the country you are in and advice your own insurer as soon as you can of the accident. Keep all paperwork.
  5. If you are in an accident or slide off the road and have to keep your car running in the snow make sure your tailpipe is cleared and that your window is cracked open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from occurring. Tie a scarf or ribbon to your mirror to signal you are in the car and need help. Call for emergency services or a tow truck.


If the weather turns suddenly when you are driving 


  1. Consider slowing down and driving to the conditions until there is a safe place to get off the road. If you are moving below speed put on your flashers to indicate you are slow and to increase the visibility of your vehicle.
  2. Get off the highway and take a break at a coffee shop until plows clear the road or the weather lets up.


If you get injured in a car accident or other accident while on holiday due to someone else’s negligence call Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law today. We are experienced personal injury lawyers and we offer free initial consulations 1(519) 742-7774



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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-519-742-7774.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

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