As we navigate these complicated times, many people are choosing to travel by car to protect their health and safety during the pandemic.
Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Securit, said that for those who are traveling, she thinks driving is a “much safer” choice than flying.
But it’s no secret that driving during the wintertime can be tricky. If you’re planning to take a winter road trip solo, you need to be extra careful dealing with snow and ice.
Follow these tips to make sure that you and your vehicle are ready to handle the weather conditions.
The first step is to have your vehicle checked by an auto repair facility before hitting the road.
Your tires may be the most important thing to check. But having the right tires is just as important as knowing how to use those tires.
If you’ll be driving through icy roads or physically in the snow, consider switching out your tires completely with winter tires, which are made to withstand such conditions. Also, check tire pressure before hitting the road.
Checking all of the fluid levels is key, especially engine oil, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid to avoid dangerous car problems and to prevent your fluid containers to freeze.
Have an extra bottle of windshield washer fluid with you, this will come in handy if you’ll go through a storm. And keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
Study the Weather forecast.
Check the weather along your route and when possible, delay your trip if bad weather is expected.
You can use an app to stay informed on road closures, sudden storms, or incidents during the trip.
If you’ll travel on a troublesome route, you may want to have a plan B route in mind before getting on the road.
Let your friends or family members know your route, destination, and estimated time of arrival. Notify if there’ll be any change for safety.
Having these items can make the difference in an unexpected situation during your winter trip.
The road trip kit from AAA has booster cables, a flashlight, an air compressor, and a first aid kit. You should also have an ice scraper, a shovel, and sandbag in case you get trapped in the snow, and emergency blankets, food, and drink in case things take a turn for the worse.
Set a reasonable pace.
In winter, there are fewer hours of sunlight, and winter driving can be more tiring than driving in summer with clear roads, meaning that you should plan for shorter driving days.
Also, a 6-hour day on the road in winter can put you into whole new weather conditions which can be dangerous. Set reasonable expectations and enjoy your road trip safely.