Whether it's to visit family or friends in the next town or the next state, many Americans will be hitting the road around the holidays. Winter is a much more dangerous time to drive long distances but there are many things you can do to prepare for a long winter roadtrip and to increase your chances of reaching your destination without a problem.
Before you leave on your roadtrip, it's important for you to check the basics of your vehicle. Some of the most important elements to check are the tire pressure, the antifreeze, the oil, spare tire and the wiper blades.
Plan Your Route
Prepare the safest route to your destination possible, but allow for a secondary option as well. Wherever you're going, be sure to let someone at home and at your destination know when you leave, what your route will be and what time you think you should be there. You should usually drive slower in the winter and if at all possible, take only major highways and roads. Never try to take shortcuts during the winter, especially in the snow.
You will also want to check the weather where you are currently, along your route and at your destination.
Basic auto supplies should be taken along such as jumper cables, chains, jack and even an extra quart of oil. A gas can will also be handy if you have room for it. If you are driving somewhere you haven't been before, be sure to pick up some road maps.
A basic first aid kit, flares, blankets, matches or lighter, flashlight with extra batteries and shovel are also good additions to your safety kit. A shovel will be handy if you find you need to dig your vehicle out of the snow.
Food & Water
If you get stuck in snow or your vehicle simply breaks down, you will need to have extra food and water. Pack enough bottles of water for a couple days at least. Also, food supplies like energy or nutrition bars are a great idea. You can find a case of nutritious energy bars at the wherehouse clubs like Costco at bulk prices.
Great technology devices to have on hand include a GPS device to make sure you don't get lost, extended range walkie talkies and a hand crank cellular phone charger along with your cell phone.
Cold Weather Clothing
Everyone on the trip should have some extra warm clothing available in case they get wet. In addition to jackets and warm tops, things like gloves, scarves and hats will also be important to keep the cold at bay.
If you're stuck in your vehicle due to the weather for very long, you might want to have some handheld games, MP3 player, books, crossword puzzle books or other activities on hand for you or the kids. Some disposable hand warmers are also an excellent idea.
Using these tips and preparing well for your trip, you and your family should reach your destination without a problem.