Few things are as enjoyable and special as going on a road trip with people you love.
Nothing compares to exploring places you’ve never visited before, taking in the sights, and sharing an adventure on the road with your closest friends or family.
Some of the best parts of a road trip don’t even have to take place at the famous attractions of the sites you visit. More often than not, many of the most memorable moments of the road trip take place inside the vehicle.
As you drive from place to place with people you love, you have all the time in the world to talk about everything under the sun or sing along to the music being produced by your recent car audio installation. You can also sit in silence as you drive by a particularly stunning sunset or reminisce about the good times you all had during your younger years if you’re going with childhood friends.
Indeed, road trips are awesome, even when you go on one during winter.
Yes, a winter road trip can be just as great as the one you take during the summer.
Imagine how beautiful the mountains you drive by would be when they’re covered in snow.
There would also be fewer crowds at your target destinations, which you’ll practically have those places to yourselves when you get there. With fewer tourists, accommodations would also be cheaper due to low demand.
Winter road trips have their share of challenges, though, and you must be prepared for them. Here are some of the things you need to do before a road trip in winter.
Get Your Vehicle Ready For Winter
Whether you’re driving a regular car, a truck or an SUV for the road trip, you will need to make sure that it’s ready for winter conditions.
For the best results, bring your vehicle to an auto shop for a tune-up. All systems will be thoroughly checked, and worn-out spark plugs, air filters, and other parts will be replaced. A tune-up also makes sure that fluids—from engine oil to transmission fluid–are at their recommended levels.
With a car tune-up, your vehicle should be able to take whatever it is the season can bear down on it.
Getting your car ready for a winter road trip also means you have to check your tires and see if they look good enough to survive on icy, snowy, or slushy roads, where 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes happen each year.
Tires that look worn-out or are losing tread need to be replaced. If possible, go for snow tires, as they are designed to have better traction on snow and ice.
Other vehicle safety-related things you need to bring may include:
• Jumper cables
• De-icer fluid for windshields
• Ice scraper
• Road flares
• Spare battery pack
• Sand or kitty litter to help with traction in case your car gets stuck on ice
• Spare tire
Some of the things you can do yourself to ensure your vehicle is up to the rigors of the trip include checking if all the lights are working, inspecting your windshield-washer system’s spray nozzles, and see that they’re not blocked, and seeing to it that the heater is working.
Set Up Your In-Car Entertainment
Your in-car entertainment is an essential part of any road trip, regardless of the season you embark on it.
For most people, music is more than adequate entertainment for a road trip. So, get your playlist ready, and make sure you prepare songs from different genres to accommodate the musical preferences of everyone on the trip.
If you’re on a road trip with your young kids, then it would be great if your vehicle has built-in screens so you can play their favorite movies as you trek through miles and miles of concrete road. If your car has no screens, you can always have them watch stuff on their smart devices.
Check For Weather Updates
You simply cannot embark on a winter road trip if you have no clue whatsoever what the weather will be in an area that you’ll be passing through or visiting.
You wouldn’t want to drive for hours only to find out that some of the roads you’re supposed to take are impassable when you get there.
You can tune in to radio stations that give regular weather reports and advisories about accidents or road closures. You can also check the Natural Weather Service for updates.
Bring Important Documents
We’re assuming that you have your license and registration with you whenever you drive in public, so that part is already covered.
Since you’re going on a presumably long winter road trip, it would also be smart to bring a copy of your auto insurance policy as well. While everyone hopes they’re not going to need it, having your insurance information on the ready in case something untoward does happen should help make things flow more smoothly.
Prepare A Survival Kit
When going on a winter road trip, it’s always best to be ready for anything that could happen on the road. Your vehicle could stall due to the cold, or you could get involved in an accident. Whatever the case, you will need to bring supplies you can use as you wait for assistance.
Among the things that you need to bring on your winter road trip are:
• Warm clothing, from winter jackets to heavy winter gloves
• Food and water
• First aid kit
• Lighter or matches
• First aid kit
• Warm blankets, in case you need to sleep in the vehicle
• Heat packs
• Backup cell phone charger
• Road maps/GPS
Bone Up On Your Winter Driving Techniques
Driving in snow and icy conditions requires knowledge of certain driving techniques to keep everyone safe during the trip.
Speeding up is tempting on a road trip, but given the weather, it would be best if you slow down, no matter how clear the road is.
You will also need to accelerate and brake slowly to prevent losing traction and control.
As much as possible, keep your following distance from the vehicle in front of you at eight to 10 seconds to be safe.
Here are more winter driving techniques to brush up on before going on a winter road trip.
Winter road trips are loads of fun. Follow the tips listed above, and your chances of keeping it that way for the duration of the trip would be better.
Author Bio: Lauren Bricks is the Content Specialist for Streetfighter Motorsports LLC, a family-operated car audio and accessory installation, sales, and customization facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. She loves cars and although she spends much of her week writing about them, she still finds the time to hop onto the second-hand Corvette convertible her dad gave her for her 25th birthday and drive to the countryside with the top down.