Is it cold outside? Don’t barricade yourself at home. Heat up the car instead and hit the road. Winter road trips are lots of fun but sometimes winter weather threatens to spoil our fun. Stay safe. Here are 4 things to do before you leave home.
Check the Weather
Winter weather can be unpredictable. Make sure that you’ve checked the forecast for your route, your destination, and for home around the time of your return. Be prepared. You may need to change your plans. Check for road closures. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy one to forget while you’re scrambling to get ready for your trip. Trust us; a simple internet search to see if any of the roads along your planned route are closed will save you a lot of time and hassle. It’s always safer to wait for weather to clear and for cleanup crews to do their work before you hit the road.
Make Sure Your Car is Road Trip Ready
First and foremost, make sure your car is in tip-top shape for a cross-country excursion. Get a car inspection, and pack a spare tire (and know how to put one on!), jumper cables, and a car safety kit. Making sure your car is ready is critical before heading out on a winter road trip. Be sure your fluids are filled, your battery is strong, and that your tires are in top condition.
Pack an Emergency Kit
The key to great winter road trips, of course, is being prepared. Winter throws plenty of extra curveballs at drivers, which means you need to make sure you’ve got all of your ducks in a row before you embark on your winter journey. After all, the last thing you want is for your car to conk out on you in sub-zero temperatures in the middle of nowhere. It’s a good idea to keep this kit in your car all season long, and double check that it’s stocked and ready before a road trip. Be sure to include:
- Small shovel, ice scraper, and a snow brush or small broom
- Bottled water and nonperishable snacks – energy bars, nuts, or granola are great
- Flashlight, battery powered radio, and extra batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Extra hats, mittens, and boots
- First Aid Kit
- Sand or non-clumping kitty litter (for traction)
- Tire pressure gauge
- Snow chains
Fill Up the Tank
Keeping a full tank is even more important in winter. Fuel up. AutoWeek recommends always keeping your tank at least half-full to prevent your gas-line from freezing up. You don’t want to run out of gas when it’s freezing outside! Fill up before you leave and stop frequently so that you don’t run low – you never know when you may hit unexpected traffic.
Have fun and be open to experiences that may not have been on your original itinerary. The best part of a road trip is that your car can take you almost wherever you want to go. Meet new people, see amazing places, and fill your camera’s memory card.