Winter Car Travel Tips for Vacations in Ice or Snow

Winter Car Travel Tips for Vacations in Ice or Snow

Everyone wants to have a fun filled vacation no matter what season it is. Before you hit the open road, it’s important to read up on winter car travel tips. Taking precautions can prevent problems on the road and can make it easier if you do get stuck.

Several years ago my family learned the value of using winter car travel tips to prepare for a trip. We successfully drove from Raleigh, North Carolina to East Tennessee in one of the worst snow and ice storms that has been recorded. Travel was dicey at times but we made it home.

I now live in the higher elevations of East Tennessee. I now put many of these winter car travel tips into practice frequently. So far, they’ve been invaluable.

Car maintenance

Maintaining your car doesn’t guarantee that it won’t break down but it does reduce your chances. Drivers should be especially careful in cold weather. One of the best car travel tips is to inspect your car before leaving the driveway. Don’t just check the fluid levels. Check all lights, brakes and tires at the very least. Fix anything that you find wrong.

Tires need to have good tread to hold onto snow or ice. Checking your tire tread depth doesn’t require a fancy tool. Here are instructions on how to use a penny to check it out. You’ll also want to check your tire pressure. This can be done at almost any gas station.

Car emergency bag

Another good winter car travel tip is to pack an emergency bag. Commercially prepared bags can be picked up at any auto parts store. Flashlights, electrical and duck tape, tools to fix or change a tire, reflective triangles and glow sticks are all popular items. Your car mechanic can make other suggestions.

Cell phones versus two-way radios

Believe it or not, you may want to have both available. For either one to work they will need to have fully charged batteries and be able to get a signal. Terrain comes into play with both.

Nothing is ever a guarantee but a winter car travel tip is to always to have a back up to your cell phone. Cell phones may not work in remote or mountainous areas so a two way radio (walkie-talkie) may be helpful. The radio signal strength is more limited than a cell phone but has its advantages. The channel may be used by other people or monitored by emergency services.

Tell your family

Be certain of your route and tell your family or a friend. Winter car travel tips include leaving your vehicle description, license plate number and cell phone number with another person along with an estimated departure and arrival time. If you don’t make your destination as scheduled someone will know to look for you and where to start.

Auto club

Auto club membership can provide you with roadside assistance. Some plans will help you with unexpected trip expenses if your vehicle becomes damaged.

Dress for the weather

Heels might be pretty but they won’t help you in the snow. Wear solid shoes or boots. You can dress up later. The same goes for jackets, hats and gloves. Wear them (or at least bring them) and be ready to use them.

Comfort items

Winter car travel tips include packing bottled water, snacks, blankets, music and other comfort items. In case you get stuck roadside you may want them. If you are taking regular prescription medications be sure to bring the prescription bottles. You may need more than you think. Parents with small children should have more diapers and formula than the anticipate needing.

These winter car travel tips aren’t meant for severely isolated areas but for general travel on interstates and main thoroughfares. Extra research and planning is required for the remote Cassiar Highway or any similar route.