Winter is the perfect time to plan a road trip with your friends or family. In this blog post we focus on, What to pack for your winter trip and the preparations for your car this winter trip.
How to Plan your Winter Road Trip
Planning a winter road trip can be tricky because of the uncertainty surrounding weather and driving conditions during the winter months. To avoid getting stranded on your trip, it's important to do your planning before you go. In this article, I'll share tips for preparing for a successful winter drive.
Prepare your car for this winter's road trip
- Fill your windshield-wiper fluid reservoir with a wintertime mix.
- Check and top up the antifreeze level in your radiator system.
- Examine your car's tires and replace any that are worn or low on air pressure.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice build-up in the tank or fuel lines.
- Ensure that any engine fluids are at the proper levels: oil, brake fluid, antifreeze mixture, illumination systems, and battery fluid.
Get Update Weather Conditions with your Mobile.
With the latest mobile-friendly weather reports, you’ll never be without the latest data on snow, ice and high winds. Simply visit mobile.weather.gov from your phone and bookmark it as a shortcut – it’s always available at your fingertips to help you prepare for changes in moisture and wind speed.
Check the road conditions along your route.
Weather conditions can change quickly depending on the landscape. Be sure to check for road condition updates and alerts for the areas you will be traveling via car. Based on the forecast, you can modify your route and pack accordingly in preparation for changing weather conditions.
Have AAA for any road emergencies.
For a roadside emergency, consider joining AAA. You can also sign up for roadside service as part of your general road trip checklist to give you peace of mind should you become stranded. Pre-write contact numbers on paper so they're accessible in an emergency.
Winter Travel Essentials.
The winter season poses a unique set of threats to your vehicle. Place the following items in a clear, plastic bag, and then keep it in the trunk of your car. Make sure you stay prepared by keeping these supplies in your winter car emergency kit as the National Safety Council also recommends carrying these items while traveling.
- Blankets, mittens, socks and hats
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
- Jumper cables
- Car First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap).
- Bottled water
- Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman multi-tool or a Swiss Army knife)
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Windshield cleaner
Extra Supplies for Frigid Weather
- A bag of sand to help with traction (or bag of non-clumping cat litter)
- Collapsible or folding snow shovel
- Tire chains and tow strap
- Hand warmers
- Winter boots for longer trips
- Sleeping bag for longer trips
- Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
- Tire gauge to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
- Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
- Rags and hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
- Duct tape
- Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
- Rain poncho
- Nonperishable high-energy foods such as unsalted and canned nuts, granola bars, raisins and dried fruit, peanut butter, hard candy.
- Battery– or hand-crank–powered radio
- Lighter and box of matches (in a waterproof container)
- Scissors and string or cord
- Spare change and cash
- Paper Maps
Winter Driving Tips
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock. Stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- If it becomes hard to control the car, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could affect the stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
- Do not use cruise control in wintry conditions. Look and steer in the direction you want to go. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- To restore proper windshield wiper blade action, smooth the rubber blades with fine sandpaper to remove any grit and pits.
- Fog-proof your mirrors and the inside of your windshields with shaving cream. Spray and wipe it off with paper towels.
- Make sure windows are defrosted and clear. And be sure to clear snow and ice from the top of the vehicle! Gently rub a small, moistened, cloth bag of iodized salt on the outside of your windshield to prevent the ice and snow from sticking.
- Beware of black ice. Roads may look clear, but they may still be slippery.
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