McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

Emergency Preparedness: Vehicles in the Winter

Winter is in full swing and being prepared for it goes hand in hand with living in Quebec. We often think about preparing our homes for winter but what about our vehicles? Are you and your vehicle ready if you were stuck in a snowstorm? If you have a second car, is that one prepared too?

Besides having your valid driver's license with you, there are other items that should always be in your car and some additional ones to consider when driving during the winter months. Below are helpful cues on how to be prepared. If you are driving a McGill-owned vehicle, we have included a few reminders, too.

Verifying vehicle components and functionality

  • Regular vehicle maintenance: Get your car serviced by a professional and have them check the oil, battery, electrical and ignition systems, brakes and power steering fluids, and the alternator. Do you drive an electric vehicle? Have them also check the integrity of the cooling system.
  • Full tank/charged battery: Make sure you fill up the gas tank. It is prudent to have sufficient fuel levels when driving in winter conditions. If you have an electric vehicle, make sure you have a full charge before your trip, especially in very cold weather. It is a good idea to plan your trip according to the charging station availability along your route.
  • Washer fluid: Verify the windshield washer fluid level and top it up. Check the condition of your windshield wipers along with the heating and defrosting system of your car.
  • Lights: Check your headlights, turn-signal lights, and hazard lights to make sure they are all functioning properly. While you’re at it, check the car horn, too.
  • Tires: Inspect the condition of your tires, including the spare tire. Don’t forget that from December 1 to March 15 inclusive, all motorized road vehicles registered in Quebec (other than heavy vehicles, tool vehicles and farm machinery) must be equipped with winter tires.

Assembling a winter emergency car kit

Below is a non-exhaustive list of items you should keep in your car during the winter months:

  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Water
  • Blanket/appropriate winter gear
  • First aid kit
  • Portable power supply for your phone and other electronic devices
  • Small shovel, scraper, and snowbrush
  • Sand, salt, or other similar product
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Deicing salt or another thawing agent
  • Jumper cables
  • Road flares
  • Candle and matches
  • Some basic tools: a multi-bit screwdriver, scissors, pliers, work gloves, zip ties and duct tape

If you’re headed out for a longer trip, some additional items to bring if you have the space are a flashlight, a tow rope, a fire extinguisher, roadmaps, a garbage bag and a whistle. It is a good idea to always keep the vehicle’s manual in the glove compartment as a reference item.

Driving a McGill vehicle

  • Authorization: The driver, also referred to as a vehicle asset operator, is an employee, faculty member, or student, who is authorized by the vehicle asset steward to operate the vehicle. Contact your vehicle asset steward (a faculty member or an administrative unit head accountable for the custody of the University-owned vehicle) to make sure you are on the authorized list of drivers.
  • Proof of insurance: Each McGill-owned vehicle should have a liability insurance card. Contact your vehicle asset steward if it’s missing.
  • Joint accident report form: Printed copies of the joint accident report form should be kept inside every McGill-owned vehicle. In the event of an accident with another vehicle, this should be filled out by the vehicle asset operator. You can get these forms in English and French: Joint report of accident form (English) / Joint report of accident form (French)
  • Training: Have you been trained to operate the vehicle? Are you familiar with its use in winter conditions?
  • Resources: Other important resources for vehicle asset stewards and operators can be found on the McGill Transport webpage.

Reporting a vehicle accident

Report an accident of a McGill-owned vehicle (i.e. purchased with a McGill account) to:

  1. Security Services: 
    • Downtown campus: 514-398-3000
    • Macdonald campus: 514-398-7777
  2. Risk Advisory and Insurance Services:
    • [at]
    • Include a copy of McGill’s Security Incident Report and/or of the police report.
    • If applicable, include a copy of the Joint accident report form (see previous section).

As a risk analyst at McGill since 2005, Melissa Ng Wan deals with assessing and preventing potential risk exposures to ensure the safety and security of the university community through insurance and other risk transfer methods.

Risk Advisory and Insurance Services (RAIS) promotes and advances the use of risk management practices in order to protect McGill University's human and physical resources against potential loss and minimize the adverse affects should a loss occur. From research involving animals, cells and rockets, to teaching medicine, music and law, to building operation, maintenance and renovation, what goes on at a university can be a risky business. Prevention plays an essential part in the management of these risks. RAIS is happy to bring you this series of important prevention reminders to help minimize the risk of loss and damages.

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