AMA urges caution and prevention this winter

As Albertans prepare for snow, AMA is readying for an increase in calls for roadside assistance. In fact, breakdowns due to dead batteries nearly double every year when the mercury dips. The good news is that with a little prevention, and a healthy dose of caution, drivers can spare themselves from unexpected surprises this winter.


  • Prior to driving, plug in your vehicle for at least four hours when the outdoor temperature is -15°C or below.
  • Always carry an emergency kit to help ensure your safety in the event of an unexpected breakdown. This should include things like a blanket, warm clothing, caution triangles, a flashlight, gloves, and a folding shovel. Due to the pandemic, a mask and hand sanitizer are also recommended.
  • Clear off your vehicle thoroughly before leaving to ensure your lines of sight aren’t obstructed by snow or ice.
  • If you have any doubts about your battery’s health, consider alternate transportation until a test is completed or new battery is installed. This could save you from being stranded outdoors in cold temperatures.
  • If your vehicle doesn't have a block heater, switching to synthetic oil will help the engine turn over.
  • Ensure your gas tank is at least half full and consider using gas-line antifreeze.
  • Swapping to winter tires will give you better traction on snow and ice, reduce your stopping distance, and provide much better control.


  • 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 conditions, keeping in mind that the posted speed limit refers to ideal conditions.
  • If your vehicle breaks down during extreme cold, your safety comes first. Please get to a warm place, as frigid temperatures make it dangerous to be outdoors (even inside a car).
  • Ensure your tires are properly inflated, as most tires lose one pound per square inch for every 5°C drop in temperature.
About AMA

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.