Ski hounds and road trippers traveling across America by car this holiday season will want to make sure that they and their vehicle are well prepared before heading into unpredictable weather. Here are some travel tips for readying the car, in case of delays, accidents and whatever else may happen in a snowstorm.
Winter Road Trip
Inspect Your Vehicle
Before driving in bad weather, it’s important that travelers make sure their cars are up to the task. Bad windshield defrosters, for example, could mean driving blind when visibility is at its worst. Nonfunctioning lights are dangerous should drivers have to pull over on the shoulder of a highway. The National Safety Council has provided a full checklist of car parts to inspect, including tires, brakes and power steering fluid, all of which are essential to driving in winter weather.
Pack For Getting Out Of A Jam
Even if a car is perfectly functioning, drivers may still find themselves spinning out or stuck in a snow bank. With the right tools, it’s possible to get out of sticky situations without the help of a tow truck. Every car should have an ice scraper to properly clear off frost and snow that has accumulated overnight. A shovel becomes invaluable when a car is stuck in snow. However, even with the tires free, slick snow and ice can make it difficult for the car to get traction. Cat litter and mats wedged under the tire can help remedy this situation. Jumper cables are another invaluable tool that should be checked to make sure they work properly, according to the NSC.
Travelers should also have the proper equipment should their car break down on the road. An emergency kit should include flashlights, batteries, flares, first aid supplies, blankets for warmth, a charged cell phone and a map. It’s important that the car is made highly visible to other drivers, who may have difficulty seeing it in bad weather. Flares and reflective triangles are essential for signaling a car’s position. Drivers will also want to have functioning jumper cables and possibly tow cables in case another car is able to help them.
Pack Essentials On Top
Emergency supplies should be within reach. However, it’s important that other goods, such as food and warm clothing, also make their way to the top of the pile. Not only are these items important during an emergency, they can also make a trip more comfortable and enjoyable. The easily reachable coat and hat becomes essential in case of any spontaneous sightseeing.