#Travel140: Travel Tips via @TravelLatte

Travel140: Winter Driving Tips

#Travel140 Travel Tips:
Be Prepared for Winter Weather

That might seem like a no-brainer, but how many times have you left the house – in any kind of weather – without checking your emergency kit? That is, if you have one. And no, what the dealer gave you doesn’t count. While our ideal way to handle wintery conditions is to stay home, we know that’s not always possible. If you must go out, here are some tips to stay safe in wintery conditions.

Note: By “wintery conditions,” we are thinking of snow and ice. If it is just plain cold where you live or play, you’re not off the hook; you need to be prepared for that, too.

Car Prep

You already know to get an automotive checkup before starting any road trip. We need to go a little further in the winter, though. Anyone who grew up in areas where winter comes with snow and ice probably learned this lesson from dear old dad, or the neighborhood car guy: Winterize your ride! Get to the garage before the cold weather sets in and have them check your fluid levels, flush the antifreeze, check your battery, your tires (including the spare!), and all of those hoses, wires, and whatchamacallits that live under the hood. Preventive maintenance won’t just make it easier to handle cold weather, it prolongs the life of your car. That’s a good thing. Moving on.

Winter Tool Kit

Here is a shocking admission: We’re not car people. I mean, we like them and we’re good at the driving part, but when it comes to maintenance, we’re dumb as towing hitches. Maybe dumber. But we do know there are some extra things to keep in the car for the winter. Our list includes:

  • An ice scraper, with a long enough reach to get your whole windshield.
  • Cat litter and/or road salt.
  • A foldable camp shovel.
  • Tire chains / snow chains.

This is, of course, in addition to the standard jumper cables, road flares, Fix-a-Flat, flashlight, and first aid kit.

Winter Survival Kit

That probably sounds more intense than intended, but that’s essentially what you should have. If you’re venturing into the woods or other areas without much traffic, you’ll want serious supplies of food, water, and warmth. Don’t think you’re out of the woods, though, just because you’re only driving across town. Be prepared to be stuck for a few hours, because it could happen.

  • A blanket (or two); an emergency thermal blanket is best.
  • A gallon of fresh water (provided you garage your car at night).
  • A few snack or meal-replacement bars.
  • Extra battery for your phone/electronics.
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Winter Driving Tips

You’ve probably heard the advice to steer into the skid. If you can remember that when you’re actually skidding, you’re doing good. Here are some other things to remember:

  • If you can’t avoid a bridge or overpass, go slow and straight, and try not to brake. Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Don’t accelerate or break quickly in icy conditions.
  • Don’t use cruise control when it’s icy.
  • Allow more time for braking, and more space between cars than you normally would.
  • Check to make sure your exhaust pipe doesn’t get clogged with ice or snow.
  • Never warm up your car in a closed garage.

Other Tips?

We would love to hear your tips on driving in wintery conditions. Just leave us a comment with your tip. We’ll add the best tips to the list, so be sure to include your Twitter handle and a link to your blog, if you have one.

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