3 Errors to Avoid When Planning a Winter Road Trip

December 15, 2017

in Lifestyle

With the holiday season already in full swing, many folks are likely in the final stages of preparing for upcoming trips to visit friends and family. Of course, if you plan on driving to your holiday destination, it's important to avoid some common mistakes that could lead to an accident or breakdown. Here are three common winter driving mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Assuming Your Tires are Up for the Trip

Whether you're driving 100 miles through the snow to grandma’s house or 1,000 miles in all sorts of weather conditions to visit your favorite uncle for the holidays, don't automatically assume your tires are up for the challenge.

Like you would before any big road trip, check all four tires to ensure they have adequate tread, are properly inflated for the cold weather and that the make and model are safe for driving on snow and ice. If your tires look worn and/or aren't suitable for slick and snowy conditions, you'll definitely want to replace them prior to leaving town.

Fortunately, doing so won't break the bank — and plenty of deals can be found at online retailers like TireBuyer.com. In fact, the site features a wide range of affordable, name-brand, all-weather tires that will save you some serious cash. Best of all? You can have your new tires delivered directly to your home or arrange for them to be shipped to a local tire shop for installation in time before you head off to grandma's house.

2. Not Getting Enough Sleep Before Leaving

While you and your family likely want to hit the road as early as possible to avoid a holiday traffic nightmare, you're likely to forget to pack or overlook something essential when in a rush. Of course, all this planning and conversation with extended family can lead to some stressful and sleepless nights leading up to your big road trip, too.

But as Silverado Safety notes, driving in snow, sleet or freezing rain requires your full attention, as you're bound to need more energy while navigating through these conditions compared to driving in nicer weather. Of course, feeling tired behind the wheel will also slow your reaction time and lessen your awareness and ability to make good decisions. 

With that in mind, start preparing for your holiday road trip a few days early, so you're not burning the midnight oil the night before you leave. And when you're driving, take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs, enjoy some snack and use the facilities prior to getting back on the open road. 

Additionally, be sure to wear comfortable clothing, so you don't feel uncomfortable or restricted while behind the wheel.

3. Neglecting to Pack a Winter Survival Kit

If you've driven to your relatives’ home countless times and have hours of cold weather driving under your belt, you might think you can skip packing some essential goods and necessities. However, all holiday travelers should have a winter survival kit in their vehicle at all times; in an emergency, it could mean the difference between life and death. Make sure not to skimp on any of the essentials, including:

  • Bottled water and other drinks
  • Snacks (energy bars, trail mix and beef jerky)
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags
  • A tow chain or rope
  • Emergency flares
  • Booster cables
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Hats and mittens

To easily access your winter survival kit, store everything in a box in the back seat or on the floor. This way, if you find yourself parked on the side of the road waiting for help, you won’t have to trudge through the snow to access your trunk.

Have a Great Time, and Stay Safe!

While holiday travelers are bound to make a variety of winter road trip mistakes, it's relatively easy to avoid them altogether. By making sure you're well-rested, your ride is up for the journey and you have a well-stocked winter emergency kit — just in case — you're bound to arrive at your holiday destination safely and ready to have a great time with family.

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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fred December 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

These are some helpful tips, and I can personally relate to the benefits of having adequate tires in good condition before embarking on a long trip. If I could offer some tips from road trips I've taken in the past, I would suggest that you check your windshield wipers before heading out, so you're able to safely drive in the rain. Secondly, I'd recommend taking your battery to AutoZone or your local auto parts store to have your battery checked. Many places will do this for free, and having a strong battery could be the difference between being stranding in the cold and making it safely to your destination.

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