In Case You’re Planning Winter Road Trips This Year
Wanting to feel the beauty of winter time, many are planning winter road trips to the mountains. But, before you hit the road, you need to have few preparations so you can have a safe trip.
These essentials are simply a must if you want to have safe winter road trips and enjoy the cold weather sports.
First thing you need to do before you hit the road is to take your car for a check-up. Ask the mechanic to check your vehicle’s brakes, lights, oil, tires, exhaust system, heater and defroster.
Make sure everything is in order and whatever you need to repair or replace – do it.
2.Test Your Battery
This should be a priority in case your battery is 3 years old. You surely don’t want to go for a winter ride and your battery to die.
Usually, auto repair stores perform this test for free if you don’t own your own battery tester.
Also,make sure to clean any corrosion from posts and connections if any.
3.Check Belts and Hoses
If your car have any belts and hoses that look worn out, replace them immediately. You don’t want them to tear down while driving.
It can be dangerous.
4.Change The Oil
Ask your mechanic about the best type of oil to use for a winter road trip and the one that is suitable for your car.
Because cold temperatures will cause oil to thicken, and then you’re in trouble.
Make sure you do this on time.
5.Check The Antifreeze Level
Use a mixture of half water and half antifreeze, which will prevent your radiator from freezing, even in very cold temperatures.
You can test the quality of the antifreeze by using an inexpensive antifreeze tester that you can purchase at any hardware or auto parts store.
What is antifreeze tester?
It is a small plastic gadget that will determine the level and condition of antifreeze in your engine.
6.Check The Quality Of The Wiper Blades
If you notice your wiper blades are worn out, replace them, as worn out blades will decrease visibility in case of heavy rain or snow.
Make sure to buy new ones.
7.Half Full Gas Tank As A Precaution Measure
Make sure you keep the gas tank at least half full, in order to keep your vehicle’s gas lines from freezing in cold temperatures, due to build up of condensation in the lines.
8.Windshield Water Fluid
Before cold weather arrives, make sure you spend the summer windshield water fluid.
At winter time, use a fluid that is rated for a minimum of −40 °C, and always keep an extra container of the fluid in the trunk.
9.Check The Tires
You should have regular tire check up during your winter road trips, as tire pressure decreases in cold weather and under-inflated tires can become dangerous, especially on slick roads.
If you’ll be driving in snow, use winter tires which will provide better tracking and improve vehicle braking in the even of a skid.
10.Pack A Winter Survival Kit
- an ice scraper
- sand or kitty litter
- road flares
- first aid kit
- fire extinguisher
- small tool kit
- tin can
- booster cables
- tow rope
- flashlight with extra batteries
- extra shoes and socks
- extra gloves
- a change of warm clothing
- paper towels
- blanket and tool kit
- at least one jug of water
- an extra food such as granola bars
- some medicine(just in case)
11.Plan The Route In Advance
Always use main roads which are more likely to be plowed or sanded in bad weather.
Also, it is good if you let at least one friend or family member know your route, destination and your expected arrival time.
This is necessary in case something went wrong your family to track you down.
12.Check The Weather and Road Conditions
Always check the weather and road conditions on your anticipated route. If the conditions are about to become severe, make any necessary adjustments such as altering your route, or going earlier – or later in the day.
If possible, avoid night driving during inclement weather.
Because it is very difficult to drive in such weather conditions, therefore avoid driving in order to prevent any possible accidents down the road.
Pack plenty of healthy snacks in case you’re not able to stop for having a meal. Make sure you’ve covered this thoroughly.
14.Prepare For An Emergency
Always carry a car charger for your cell phone, as your cell phone may be your life savior if you car breaks down, or if you’re lost or stuck in the snow.
Program your phone with any important numbers, such as emergency road service or weather or traffic reports.
15.Don’t Bundle Up
Don’t drive with thick gloves because they are disabling you from feeling the steering wheel. Driving with those can be difficult, so you better ditch them.
Also don’t wear a bulky coat as it restricts arm movements and impedes response time.
The same stands for wearing snow boots.
They’re a problem because it is hard to feel the pedals under your feet with the boots on, and you’re more likely to hit the wrong pedal (especially in an emergency situation).
Always keep a pair of sneakers in the car and drive with those.
Remember, you always have to feel comfortable while driving and not like a teddy bear wearing heavy winter clothes.
16.Clear The Snow From The Car
This is also something you need to consider before driving. Always clear your entire vehicle of snow and ice, especially from the roof.
Because it will only slide off behind you when you accelerate, or directly onto your windshield when you brake.
Both situations are dangerous as snow can blind you, and you know what might happen next!
Winter roads trips can be dangerous.
17.Keep The Kids Entertained
Make sure you have a winter road kit for the kids too.
Take along portable power packs and lightning cords to charge electronics, as well energizing snacks such as protein bars and dried fruit and nuts, refillable water bottles, blankets and pillows to keep cozy in the back seat, and some extra hats and gloves.
Stock up with age-appropriate games to make sure your kids are entertained while on winter road trips, as for them – honestly, they can be quite boring if they do nothing.
18.Winter Driving Precautions
- Adjust your speed to accommodate the road conditions
- Leave yourself ample room to stop
- Accelerate, turn and brake gradually and as smoothly as you can
- Never tailgate
- Have normal following distances
- Slow down when driving on slippery surfaces
- Do not turn while braking
- Brake first, then turn, then accelerate
As you can see, you still can have gorgeous winter holidays and enjoy the mountains and all winter sports, as long you drive safely and get prepared on time.
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