Yes, yes. It’s winter. You should put on your winter tires, buy the array of flashy winter-driving products yelling at you from the weekly newspaper flyers, and be sure to scrape your windshield every time you set out so you can see things.

We’re Canadians. We know this. (Mostly).

So, instead of the usual top-five winter-readiness preach-points, we offer the following: five things to avoid doing this winter if you’re big on safety and peace of mind on the road.

Don’t travel with a near-empty tank

There are numerous, fairly-obvious reasons to keep your fuel tank topped up in wintertime. If you’re stranded, having a tank full of gas means you’ll be able to stay warm for longer until help arrives. If you’re travelling in unfamiliar territory in a snowstorm, it also reduces the possibility of running out of gas.

But here’s the other thing: if your fuel supply has absorbed any water, which is probably has, that water will tend to be concentrated in the last bit of fuel left in your tank. As your tank empties, the water to fuel ratio inside gets more and more unfavourable, and there’s increased likelihood the water could freeze, causing a break-down or preventing your ride from starting. A full tank of gas, and some gas-line anti-freeze, is great for peace of mind.

Don’t have the double-decker grease-burger before a long road trip

You’re planning a long-haul road-trip with the fam-jam that’ll see you at the wheel for many, many hours. Remember that the food you eat before and during that trip can have plenty to do with your energy and alertness levels.

Naturopath Dr. Jennifer Strong provides some advice on foods to avoid when you need prolonged levels of alertness at the wheel.

“Foods to avoid would be anything that is hard to digest, or anything high in simple sugars. This includes greasy, fatty meals, which take a lot of effort to digest. These can leave you feeling in need of a nap afterwards, so you body can focus its efforts on digestion.

“High sugar foods are good for an immediate sugar rush, so they’re ok for an hour road trip. These are foods such as candy, chocolate, slushies, doughnuts, and so on. Afterwards, you’ll have a sugar crash, and feel even more tired than before.

2015 Toyota Venza AWD Limited HVAC displayBurger
Jeff Wilson’s close call in a Venza; one of Jonathan’s many, many Instagrammed burgers. Click image to enlarge

“Additionally, tryptophan, which is found in most meat and dairy products, is an amino acid known to make you feel a little drowsy if consumed in large quantities. For that reason, avoid gobbling down multiple double-cheeseburgers on the go.”

(Sorry Jonathan.)

Remember that nothing replaces a good night’s sleep, and that caffeine, for all its energy-boosting goodness, can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B, which is essential for proper energy level maintenance and digestion.

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