When the forecast calls for snow, sleet or ice, the safest course of action is to stay off the roads. But if there’s somewhere you need to be, use these tips to help you prepare for winter travel.
- Get a pre-winter check-up for your car. Before the snow is even in the forecast, take your car in for recommended car maintenance to ensure it’s in top condition to handle winter driving. Make sure the heater is in good working condition, and winter tires are installed if needed.
- Pack a winterizing kit. Use this checklist for packing all the essentials before heading out.
- Extra antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid
- A shovel
- An ice scraper
- A flashlight
- Bags of sand or kitty litter to help you gain traction on slippery surfaces like parking lots
- Extra drinking water
- Non-perishable snacks
- Top off your tank. Keep your gas tank full. Bad weather can cause detours and delays. Plus, a full gas tank isn’t as likely to freeze your car’s gas line.
- Know the road conditions. Before you venture out, check your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) website to get the scoop on road conditions. Or, download the INRIX® TRAFFIC! App for instant access to traffic information. Keep in mind that even partially snow-covered roads can pose a driving hazard, so it’s important to exercise caution.
- Be prepared for a roadside emergency. Ask your insurance agent about adding emergency roadside assistance coverage to your auto policy, so you’ll have reliable help when you need it.
- Cut the distractions. Concentrate on the road, and that means eliminating driving distractions. Take the extra time to make sure your visibility isn’t compromised by frost, ice or snow. Put away your phone, turn off the music, and ask your travel companions to keep their voices down. Keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the road.
- Slow down and keep your distance. Not only do you need to focus on your driving, but you also need to be alert and aware of the cars around you. Don’t use your cruise control, and avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes. Be extra cautious on bridges, ramps and overpasses, as they may freeze first. And remember this rule – if your wipers are on, your lights should be on, too.
As winter weather settles in, following these safe driving tips can help you safely navigate the challenges of winter travel conditions.