Many people prefer snuggling up in their blankets and staying inside their homes during winters. However, they might just be missing out on a lot of fun as winter road trips are equally fun. However, due to the extreme climatic conditions and erratic weather changes which might occur during this period, what one requires is to exercise necessary precautions, when planning a winter road trip. After all, even if you’re a skilled driver, ice and snow can be hazardous.
Follow the safety tips listed below:
- Your vehicle has to be in perfect shape on the trip. Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a complete servicing. Ensure that the belts, necessary fluids, windshield and lights, all are in proper working condition. Replace any part which is worn out. During the trip, check all fluids regularly, including the windshield washer fluid and always carry extra oil.
- Before you leave for the road trip, check with a professional driver how to correctly brake and steer in slippery conditions. When driving, go twice as slow as you think you need to. Approach a stop or a turn by starting to slow down at least a half block early.
- Before taking a road trip in the winter, always map out your routes beforehand. You neverknow when your GPS devices and mobile phone batteries may run out. So, have the good old, traditional paper maps with marked routes that at least one of you understands.
- For any winter road trip, always carry an emergency kit. Some of the essentials of this emergency kit should be road flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, spare tyre, folding shovel, chains, ice scraper and extra wiper blades. Remember never to carry extra gasoline inside a vehicle.
- Bring along hardcopies with information about possible stopping points along the way. Make reservations at the hotels beforehand. Always have some alternate options handy, in case of any emergency.
- Give a copy of your vacation plan to a reliable friend or relative. The information should include an estimated arrival time at various major junctures on the route and accommodation information such as cell phone numbers and addresses.
- Ensure that you check the Travel Alerts on the Internet. Always keep the car radio tuned. Since cell phones have limited battery life, it is wise to have a backup means of communication.
- If your vehicle becomes stranded in deep snow, stay with your car. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow before starting the engine to run your heater.
- Always keep the gas tank at least half full.
- One might encounter dangerous snowy conditions when on the road. If you can see the vehicle in front of you, continue driving. This is because if you stop on the road you could be struck from behind. If the snow is totally blinding, try to pull over just enough to get out of the path of other vehicles and wait out the storm.
Follow the above guidelines and you will definitely have a safe and enjoyable winter road trip!