Usually when we think of taking a road trip it is during the summer month when children are out of school and we take our vacation time. However traveling in the winter can be fun and it is just important to spend a little time planning a winter road trip.
In the winter the weather can be much more of an issue. You have to keep an eye out for storms that might affect your travel. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a blizzard on the highway! When I was a child we spent many winter weekends driving from Connecticut to Vermont. My parents liked to ski and they wanted to introduce me and my brother and sister to the joys of skiing. We would take off every Friday and drive north no matter what the weather was. As a result we have many memories of slow drives in the snow and even one trip where we had to stay in a hotel for the night because the driving was so bad!
When my husband and I drive in the winter we spend a little more time planning a winter road trip.
Before you leave on your trip make sure your car is prepared to make a trip. This is good advice whenever you are traveling. Ask your mechanic to check your car’s brakes, lights, oil, tired, exhaust system, heater and defroster. Have them check your car’s belts and hoses and replace any that look worn.
Have your battery tested, especially if your battery is over three years old. You can do this yourself is you have a battery tester. Clean any corrosion from posts and connections. Make sure you travel with a set of jumper cables as well.
Have the oil changed and ask your mechanic for the best type of oil to use for a winter road trip. Cold temperatures can cause oil to thicken.
Check the antifreeze level in your radiator. The last thing you want is to have your radiator freeze!
Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. If you end up driving in rain or snow you want to have good visibility. Check your windshield washer fluid as well. Make sure it is rated for cold weather. Keep an extra container of fluid in the car. You’d be amazed at how much fluid you go through when driving in bad weather.
When you are driving always keep your gas tank at least half full. This will keep your car’s gas lines from freezing due to condensation building up in the lines.
Check your tires often. If you will be driving in snow, use winter tires, which will provide better traction on bad roads.
Pack a winter survival kit in the car, which includes an ice scraper, small shovel, sand or kitty litter, road flares, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, small tool kit, candle, matches, tin can, jumper cables. Towrope, flashlight with extra batteries, extra shoes and socks, extra gloves, a change of warm clothing, paper towels, blanket and at least one jug of water and extra food such as granola bars.
Keep your phone charged and carry a car charger for your phone.
By taking some time and planning a winter road trip you can be prepared for any situation you might come across. Plan your trip in advance and you’re your friends and family know what your plans are. Have you travels in the winter before? What advice do you have?