It's time to get your winter tires installed, check your car battery and stock your car with an emergency kit with all the essentials needed for the winter months, the Canadian Automobile Association says.
The association, together with Toronto and Ontario police, is urging drivers to prepare to navigate slippery road conditions before the first snowfall.
"Our weather can be unpredictable, especially in the winter. It's important to think ahead and prepare before driving conditions become hazardous," said Nadia Matos, Manager External Communications, CAA South Central Ontario.
An emergency kit should include a warm blanket, flashlight, extra batteries, a shovel, jumper cables, a first aid kit, water and non-perishable food. Drivers also need a fully charged cell phone in the vehicle to communicate, it says.
When it comes to tires, police say it's important to install all weather or winter tires before the snow arrives. All weather tires can be identified by a snowflake emblem and meet the minimum requirements for winter driving conditions.
Winter tires exceed specifications for grip and traction, says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.
"It's not just when there's snow and ice on the ground, it's when the temperature goes below 7 C, the rubber compound is a different property," he said.
Two cars collide on slippery roads during a snowstorm in Toronto. (@TPSmotorsquad/Twitter)
Driver behaviour is also important
Toronto Police Const. Sean Shapiro says driver behaviour is another important factor.
"Winter driving can be stressful. Motorists need to be alert at all times when on the road," he said. "That includes slowing down and driving according to weather conditions and ensuring you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination."
Shapiro advises drivers to travel below the posted speed limit in winter because it takes longer to stop, and to allow more space between vehicles.
"Or what's going to happen is something will change ahead, you'll hit the brakes and you'll slide into the vehicle in front of you."
Motorists should also be aware of new amendments this year to the Highway Traffic Act.
It's now illegal to pass snow plows working side-by-side on Ontario highways, says Schmidt. Doing so could mean a fine ranging from $150 to $1,000.
"Only pass a snowplow if the lane is completely clear of any part of the plow, including its blade," he said.
Vehicles are seen travelling bumper to bumper northbound on Highway 427 in Toronto during winter. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
Other CAA tips for drivers include:
Always keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent fuel-line freeze-up that can keep your car from starting.
Remove excess snow from your car before driving off. Snow left on a car's roof can slide down to the windshield and obstruct your vision.
Keep your wiper fluid full and keep extra fluid in your trunk. Make sure it's rated for -40 C.
Matos says CAA gets about 4000 calls on an average winter day. "That number doubles or triples when we get inclement weather," she said.
She suggests drivers use the 511 app in winter to check the weather and Ontario road conditions before heading out.