Winter Driving

In winter, drivers must adapt their driving to weather and road conditions. Under the Highway Safety Code, drivers must slow down when visibility is reduced as a result of darkness, fog, rain or other precipitation, or when the roadway is slippery or not completely cleared.

Failure to adapt your driving can result in

  • A $60 fine, plus costs
  • 2 demerit points

Winter tires are mandatory from December 1 to March 15 inclusive.

To avoid surprises in winter

  • Put together a winter supply kit (snow brush, ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, shovel, etc.) and keep it in your vehicle at all times.
  • Completely remove all snow and ice from your vehicle before hitting the road.
  • On the road, slow down and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, especially on slippery roads or in conditions of poor visibility. Watch out for black ice, even if it is nice out.
  • Always turn on your headlights and low beams when it is dark out.
  • If possible, reschedule your trip if road conditions are poor.

Planning your trips

Before leaving, make sure you can make your trip safely by consulting:

During snow removal operations, stay away from snow removal vehicles.

Snow removal vehicles have many blind spots that prevent their drivers from seeing other road users well.

It is best to stay at a safe distance when driving near this type of vehicle to ensure you are in the driver's field of vision.

This winter, for your own safety, keep your distance!

Driving a “mobile igloo” is dangerous and prohibited!

A vehicle’s windshield and windows must be cleared of any matter that might reduce visibility for the driver. A peace officer may impose a fine of $100 to $200, plus costs, on the driver and require that the vehicle’s windows and windshield be cleared of ice, snow, or any other matter that reduces the driver’s visibility. The driver must comply with this requirement.

Furthermore, no person may drive a vehicle covered with ice, snow, or any other matter that may detach from the vehicle and constitute a hazard for other road users. Offenders face a fine of $60 to $100, plus costs.

Lessons on how to drive on ice

Some driving schools offer lessons on how to drive on snow and ice to people who want to improve their winter driving techniques.

Beware of carbon monoxide

When your car is buried beneath the snow, avoid turning on the ventilation and staying inside your vehicle after starting it. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to health problems and, in extreme cases, death.

Carbon monoxide is an insidious gas, as it is odourless. It spreads through the passenger compartment of a vehicle without being noticed. That’s why it’s important to always clear the snow off of your vehicle before getting in. That way, you can ensure that the exhaust pipe is clear and that the air circulating inside the vehicle is clean.

Other things to watch out for:

  • If you stop on the road during a storm, remember to clear your exhaust pipe and ventilate the inside of your vehicle from time to time.
  • Be cautious when your car is running in a carport or garage. Carbon monoxide gas is toxic!

For more information

Visit the Winter Preparation and Winter Tires: Safe Winter Driving webpages for other tips and advice. You can also visit the website of the Ministère des Transports to find out more, in particular:

Video clips

Last update: April  6, 2023