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Caution and prevention advised as Alberta cold snap hits: AMA

Posted on 8 February 2021 by Contributed
Stay safe out there

Every 64 seconds, AMA rescues a stranded driver. But when temperatures drop to extremes—as they’re expected to this weekend—that frequency increases to every 40 seconds! In fact, calls about dead batteries sometimes balloon by as much as six times during long cold snaps.

The good news is that many of these situations are preventable with a little preparation. Here are some tips to avoid an unexpected breakdown as the mercury in Alberta starts to dip.


•Prior to driving, plug in your vehicle for three to four hours when the outdoor temperature is -15°C or below.

•Winter tires will give you much better traction on snow and ice, helping you stop sooner and maintain more control.

•Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Most tires lose one pound per square inch for every 5°C drop in temperature.

•Consider switching to synthetic oil for the winter months. It’ll reduce the wear and tear on your engine and help it turn over in frigid temperatures.

•Ensure your gas tank is at least half full and consider using gas-line antifreeze if your vehicle frequently moves from warm to cold environments (e.g. a heated garage to outdoor parking lot).


•Scan the road ahead and maintain a safe following distance that allows for adjustments. When the roads are icy or snowy, this means four to six seconds.

•Drive to the weather, keeping in mind that the posted speed limit refers to ideal conditions.

•Always carry an emergency roadside kit. This should include things like a blanket, warm clothing, caution triangles, a flashlight, gloves, and a folding shovel. Hand sanitizer and a face mask are also good to include during the pandemic.

•If you find yourself broken down at the roadside, please get to a warm, safe place as soon as possible. We recommend arranging alternate transportation from a member of your household.

•Avoid unnecessary trips during extreme weather. This can helps reduce the risk of collisions or breakdowns and keeps you safe.

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 975,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.

Stay safe out there

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