Adventures on winter roads in Canada may include fewer people, lower rates, and beautiful snowy landscapes. Hence, you can’t restrict the road adventures to the summer only. But there is a big BUT!

Driving across Canada in winter can be terrifying. You might have experience driving in winter, but Canada offers you a totally different adventure. Driving at -25 degrees Celsius with no mobile service demands a strong and brave driver. But yes, even a small mistake during driving can be fatal.

You’ll see that each Canadian province offers rigorous winter driving regulations. You must be aware of all the tiny details of driving during winter in Canada to avoid your fun being spoiled. You can add spice to your adventure and winter road trip by enjoying it to the fullest.

So, come out of your room, pack your bags, sit in the car, and fasten your seat belt. We’ll walk through Canada through this guide with our strong imaginations. So, are you ready? Let’s go!

Driving In Canada During Winter

Canada is a vast nation with a variety of stunning scenery. You can choose any season to explore Canada, e.g., Summers offer a wonderful opportunity to see the nation. Winter driving presents obstacles, but most of the landscape remains beautiful.

Many individuals choose winter to roam about in Canada, and others choose summer for any reason. If you plan to go to parks or go camping during winter, it wouldn’t be possible due to the harsh weather.

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Check out some vital tips to drive in Canada during winter:

Driving Technique

Driving strategies in winter differ from those used in the summer. People living in cold regions also have to be careful during winter. You have to drive slowly in winter. As the roads are snowy, you have to grip the snow to head forward.

You must control the speed to get a grip and avoid accidents. When you stop at a red signal, it isn’t easy to resume driving because snow usually accumulates at the crossing. Remember that you may face a decrease in your vision as a fog blow may appear suddenly in front of your car.

Driving technique is the foremost important thing you must know. So, while you are going to stop your car, allow some extra space between your and the next car. You must take care of brakes when and how to apply them, depending on the situation. Whichever car you own or hire, you must be aware of its tiny details. 

Vehicle Readiness

Before leaving for a trip:

  1. Check your vehicle to be in a working position.
  2. Check the condition of the brakes.
  3. Ascertain that your car’s battery is charged and powerful enough to cope with the snowy roads.

Tires play an important role in driving across each type of road. If your tires are good, then your driving is good and smooth. During winter, the tires’ pressure drops. So, always fill up your tire before starting your journey.

You must save windshield washer fluid specifically for winter. During your trip, keep checking and the fuel tank full. You’ll have portions when the usage of wipers becomes practically constant due to the combination of snow, slippery roadways, and splashes from vehicles.

Block Heaters

A Block heater is inserted into the engine to keep the fluids hot. In Northern Canada and the prairies, block heaters are very common. While they are uncommon in other regions like Southern Ontario and British Columbia. 

Oil thickens when the temperature drops, so the vehicle will not get started. Block heaters work when the car remains close to -20 degrees Celsius for many days. This heater then heats the petrol sufficiently to start your car easily. But still, a winter journey without a heater is doable. 

Drive According To The Road Conditions

Canada screens your speed limit to adjust according to the road conditions. It is strictly followed during winter especially. The computerized screens instruct you about the road condition ahead. So it would be best if you control your car speed accordingly.

But you may also have control over your speed and take additional precautionary measures. In Canada, you may face ‘drive to conditions.’ If you are a beginner, the listed speed may still be fat for you on a slippery road. 

You must have an adequate distance between your and the next car to avoid a collision. Applying brakes on a snowy road is quite difficult as the car stops after some time and covers some distance. 

Turn on the lights if your vision gets affected by fog. Always check your headlights’ condition before heading. Busy roads might cause your lights to become filthy sooner.

Cruise control is not for winding and congested areas but for travel at constant places. It would be best if you did not use it for snowy or wet roads.

Shorter Days

Winter days are usually shorter everywhere, so as in Canada. Avoid driving during winter due to snowstorms, heavy snow, and black ice. Try driving when the sun starts rising and stop when it sets.

Each province of Canada differs in terms of time zone. So be careful about the timing of sunsets and sunrise while driving during winter.

Limited Roadside Facilities

Many roadside amenities are closed throughout the winter. Bathrooms, rest stations, and visiting places exemplify these amenities. Buildings and often gas stations remain closed during winter. So always check the gas of your vehicle before leaving.

Plan & Map Your Route & Destination

Many visiting sites in Canada offer limited time to visit. This is so because of winter owing to inclement weather, and most people don’t choose winter to explore Canada. Many parks also remain closed or restricted during winter.

Winter-related sites are also available in Canada that must be visited. In essence, hot springs are an excellent spot to come and stare at the beauty of nature.

Check Out 3 Tips For Safer Driving in Canadian Winters

Requires Thorough Preparation

Please prepare properly for your journey before departure. In addition to winter tires, you must have a printed road map so that when there is no mobile or network service, you may have an in-hand map.

Carry some important luggage with you to avoid any hurdles. To know about these things, keep scrolling and jot down some important points:

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Must-Have Items in Your Winter Travel

Following are some compulsory items that must be included in your winter travel:

Car Winter Emergency Kit

Suppose the weather and road conditions becomes so extreme, then you must stop your car for a while. In this case, you must have an emergency kit containing blankets, warm caps, gloves, food, other clothes, water, and a first aid kit.

Winter Tires

Several roads require good winter tires during extreme weather conditions. In essence, the roads of British Columbia from October to March need these types of tires. You can also use these tires in northern Ontario from October to April.

Many roadways in British Columbia have warnings about the near one’s hills and mountains or the ways where the circumstances are about to change quickly. It’s all up to you whether you want to switch to winter tires. As they are not compulsory but some provinces still demand winter tires.

Common tires grow hard and rigid in cold temperatures and cannot hold the ground. Winter tires are recommended because they feature a larger grip and give drivers better control.

Meanwhile, it would be best if you changed these tires simultaneously during the weather transition. This is because the rubber of these tires may readily degrade on warmer roads during summer. Keep tire pressure at the proper level.


To keep the vital portions of your engine running, you need to plug in heaters with your car during cold temperatures. In Vancouver, the winters are not so extreme, so you can avoid using these heaters.

But if you are a citizen of an area where the least temperature is a common thing, then you must make use of automobile heaters a part of your routine. Less temperature causes the oil of automobiles to thicken. 

This thickened oil will face difficulty moving toward your car parts, so friction will be produced. Turn your block heaters on about two to three hours before driving to warm up your engine and car.

You can use automatic timers to set your block heaters on and off accordingly. Their costs range from $10-$20.

Shovel & Tow Rope

Two pieces of equipment you mostly use for winter vehicle travels are a tow rope and shovel. You can choose Avalanche shovels as they are compact and easily carry them during snowshoeing. 

Jumper Cables

It would be best if you had jumper wires with you every time you go on a winter trip. Because winters are mostly harsh on automobile batteries. 

Windscreen Washer Fluid

Windshield water fluid is critical to maintaining a good view during snowy, icy, and muddy trips. These windshields must be winter-rated up to -40 degrees Celsius.

Insulated Flasks

Drinking water or water for your car may freeze in extreme cold. The remedy for this problem is to carry an insulated flask. As a result, there’ll be no difficulty in transporting water with you. If you are a tea or coffee lover, you may store it in the flask. 


A cooler is required to keep your food preserved and fresh. Mostly, dry fruits can easily be carried as they remain edible if frozen or defrosted multiple times. 

Unexpected Hazards

Flexibility and patience are excellent travelling buddies. They are quite necessary for a winter road adventure. Extremely bad weather, like storms, may be unsafe for driving. Following are some factors that you must consider when an unexpected hazard comes your way:

  • Sometimes navigation becomes almost impossible when heavy snow hides road signs. Hence, printed maps are quite necessary.
  • Highway 1 is the main roadway of Canada, and you still need help finding a mobile service here. So be prepared for this hazard, and you must have an alternative to it in an emergency.
  • Heavy snow can cause snow to drift. Drive carefully in this case, as it might be difficult to drive during this condition.
  • You will see a two-lane divided highway in Canada. But not all roads are separated. Hence, you may face difficulty on these roads as snowflakes created by automobiles might easily blind you here.


Is It Safe To Drive Across Canada In December?

Due to icy roads and poor visibility, driving across Canada in winter can be difficult. As winter gives cooler temperatures, icy roads, and snowflakes. But if you want a winter vacation, then December is your best month.

As the holidays start from mid of December, so you can enjoy your vacations safely. But remember to book your sites as you might have booking issues and your vacations will be spoiled. December weather is quite pleasant to visit Canada.

Is A Heavy Or Light Car Better In Snow?

During winter, the roads become snowy and slippery. So, a lighter car has more chance of getting a slip and causing damage to you and your car’s health. Moreover, the low surface levels of roads may damage the bottoms of your car.

In case of any damage, you may get caught and trapped during the snowy condition. Even if you keep the front and back tire pressure the same, the weight of heavy cars still straightens the contour of the front tires.

As a result, heavy cars feel more friction between tires and roads, causing difficulty driving the car on snowy roads. Hence, lighter cars are better in snow.

Are All Weather Tires Good For Canadian Winters?

All-weather tires may protect you from both mild and somewhat severe winter weather. These tires provide effective performance in summer, spring, autumn, and winter. All-weather tires are utilized the whole year, whereas winter tires need to be changed and stored.

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Transport Canada has approved all-weather tires to be used in snowy winters in Canada. So, there is no danger in using them during winter. As all-weather tires can be used throughout the year, they have less life than winter tires. 

What Do You Do If Your Car Is Sliding On Ice?

Slow down your car if you feel like sliding on ice from your front tires. If you are still sliding, apply the brakes gently and slowly. If you feel sliding from the back tires, remove your foot off the pedal and carefully spin your tire along the direction of the slide.

Moreover, avoid oversteering, as it can cause a complete spin of your vehicle. The effect of a strong and abrupt tire response to spin is known as oversteer. Don’t ever stress out whenever you face this situation. Maintain your composure in this case.


In Canada, a few significant snowstorms occur every winter. Additionally, trying to travel during a stormy night may be incredibly irritating. You may become frustrated while stuck in traffic and waiting for a long time.

You’ll surely find Canada a winter wonderland! Let us know if these tips helped you in your trip to Canada. For further guidance, please explore OnTheMoveCanada. Take care!