(NC) Canadian winters can be challenging, especially for those who need to drive in seasonal conditions. Harsh weather is often unpredictable and it’s extra demanding on your vehicle and driving skills. With the first snowfall just around the corner, it’s a smart idea to be prepared now for the months of hazardous road conditions that lie ahead.

“The first step in safe winter driving is to give yourself ample time to reach your destination,” advises Glenn Cooper from Aviva Canada. “Most winter collisions occur when drivers do not allow for enough time or distance to brake effectively. Slippery conditions require you to slow down and take your time.”

Cooper offers these additional tips:

1. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you in case you have to brake suddenly on a slippery surface. The general rule is to drive at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front during ideal conditions. Be sure to add extra buffer time during winter conditions.

2. Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up.

3. Make sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and keep an extra jug in the vehicle.

4. Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, and the frequently forgotten roof.

5. Install winter tires before the season begins. Winter tires are often not available later in the season. Before reusing last season’s tires, check to see if they need replacing.

6. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently as it decreases in cold weather.

7. Prepare a winter survival kit for your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded.

Find more information from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com.