Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years have many people taking long road trips in winter. Cold weather doesn’t have to ruin your plans, but you should make sure you’re prepared for snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Make these 6 preparations before your winter road trip to make sure you and your family stay safe and comfortable.
Inspect Your Tires
Your tires are one of the most important parts of your car when it comes to driving through snow. It’s important to check your tires and make sure that they are structurally intact and properly inflated. Depending on where you’re traveling, you might even consider purchasing snow tires or installing snow chains.
Pack an Emergency Kit
While it’s a good idea to have a basic emergency kit in your car at all times, a potential car breakdown in freezing weather can make these especially important. Before leaving for a winter road trip, make sure to put together an emergency kit. Your kit should include:
- Flashlight and batteries
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Protein bars
- Bottled water
- Small shovel
- Winter clothing (coat, hat, gloves)
There should be plenty of snacks, water, and warm clothing for each passenger in your car, including kids. Make sure that you also have a supply of any medication or medical supplies members of your family might need, such as inhalers or insulin.
Research and Practice What to do in Winter Weather Conditions
Things like installing snow chains can take a bit of practice, so it’s important to know how to do it before you’re stuck in the snow. You should also research how to drive in snow, how to remove ice from your car, and how to get your car unstuck if you get stuck in the snow.
Get a Tune-up
Before embarking on a winter road trip, you should get a tune-up for your car to make sure that it’s running smoothly. You should be getting frequent oil changes anyway, but it’s always a good idea to have your oil changed before leaving on a long trip. Have the mechanic check and top off all fluids as well.
Inspect Windshield Wipers
Damaged windshield wipers can reduce visibility in the rain or snow, leading to dangerous driving conditions. Check your wipers to make sure that they are operating as they should. If you’ve needed new wipers for a while, it’s a good idea to replace them before your winter road trip.
Your car’s defrosters need to work properly in order to keep snow and ice from building up on your windows and mirrors. If they aren’t working properly, take your car to a mechanic to have them take a look.
Winter road trips can be safe and fun as long as you plan ahead. Make sure to go over this list of 6 preparations before hitting the road this winter.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.