This is what the roads will soon look like. Are you prepared? (Photo credit: ICBC)

This is what the roads will soon look like. Are you prepared? (Photo credit: ICBC)

The Editor’s Desk: Winter driving warriors

What kind of winter driver are you? Take this quiz and find out!

Winter driving season is almost upon us: snow warnings have been issued for area highways, snow levels are creeping ever lower, and the temperature is starting to dip below freezing on some nights. How well-prepared are you for the highways and byways? Take this fun quiz and find out!

My winter tires: a) Have been on, and properly inflated, since Oct. 1, as required on many B.C. highways. b) Are still in my garage, but I’ve booked an appointment to get them on. c) I have decent all-season tires. d) Winter tires are just a conspiracy peddled by Big Tire to get us all addicted to their product.

My car emergency kit contains: a) Candles, matches, a blanket, jumper cables, a small shovel, a bag of kitty litter, water, and a wind-up flashlight. b) A beach towel left behind from our last camping trip, a small plastic shovel (ditto), half-a-bottle of water, and a battery-operated flashlight that might or might not still work. c) A box of tissues, a half-empty box of matches, and a bottle of flat Pepsi. d) A reusable shopping bag with a hole in the bottom.

I’m prepared for dealing with snow and ice on my vehicle with: a) A bottle of spray de-icer fluid and a long-handled brush and scraper. b) A small scraper that doesn’t quite allow me to reach the middle of the windshield and a corn broom. c) My library card. d) Idling for 15 minutes or so usually does the trick.

Speaking of idling, which best describes you? a) Modern cars don’t need to idle in winter, and I bundle up to keep warm for the first part of the drive. b) I only run the car for a minute or two, to take the chill off. c) I run it for a few minutes, unlss I get distracted and forget. d) I run it for as long as it takes to get the inside nice and toasty.

When I clean my vehicle of ice and snow I: a) Make sure to clean my windows and headlights, as well as brush snow from the hood, roof, and trunk so that it does not create a hazard for myself or other drivers. b) Make sure to clean my windows, hood, and as much of the roof as I can reach. c) Make sure to clean most of the windows. d) Make sure to clean a space on the driver’s side of the windshield just big enough for me to see out of until the defroster kicks in.

When it comes to windshield wiper fluid, I: a) Keep it topped up with fluid good for sub-zero temperatures, and carry a spare jug in the trunk. b) Try to remember to keep it topped up, and have a half-filled jug in my garage. c) Try to remember to keep it topped up. d) Top it up with warm water and hope for the best.

Before heading out on anything more than a local trip I: a) Consult the DriveBC website to check on conditions. b) Look out the window to check on conditions. c) Depend on the weather forecast for the entire Thompson-Okanagan region I saw on TV last night for conditions. d) Wait for the snowplow to come by, then I’m good to go.

When it comes to winter driving techniques I have: a) Taken a winter driving course from a trained professional. b) Watched some videos on winter driving on YouTube. c) Read about winter driving tips. d) Hey, you don’t drive around here in winter for years without learning a few techniques of your own!

I look after my vehicle’s paintwork in winter by: a) Washing it regularly to remove built-up dirt and chemicals. b) Washing it whenever the lineup at the car wash isn’t too long. c) Running a squeegee over the worst spots. d) Won’t the melting snow keep it clean?

Results: If you answered mostly a, congratulations! You are an exemplary winter driver. If you answered mostly b, you’re on the right track but there’s room to improve. If you answered mostly c, you’ve got a fair bit of work to do. If you answered mostly d, please let the rest of us know when you’ll be on the roads this winter, so we can be off them.

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