Winter can be harsh and very cold. It doesn’t only affect you, but can also affect the performance of your car. It’s not only the very low temperature – slippery, ice-covered road and thick fog can make your winter long trip hazardous. During the trip, you may want to drive south to escape the cold and get warmer weather. Accidents happen on a daily basis during summer and the risks are heightened during very cold winter. Here are things you should do to stay safe:
- Prepare your bags: During a long, winter road trip, make sure that you pack useful things, such as first aid kit, flash light and anti-freeze liquids.
- Check your car: Make sure that your car is fully ready for the long journey ahead. Whether it’s a long or short trip, make sure that your car is fully prepared. Start with the obvious, such as ensuring that you have ample fuel and you have added anti-freeze liquid into the cooling system and the wiper fluid. Clean up your windshield and apply anti-freeze solution, so it is less likely for ice to form on the surface of your windshield. Make sure that you have checked all components, such as car battery, seat belts, fog lights, tires, air bags and heater. Having a malfunction during summer is troublesome enough, it could be even worse during winter.
- Read weather reports: If thick snow or even blizzard is affecting your area, you may need to consider postponing your trip. When snow is very thick, the road can be blocked until it’s cleared. It’s no fun waiting for a few hours until you can use the road again. Because the weather can be quite extreme, you should drive only if you are confident. Poor knowledge about the current weather could lead to potential problems. Make sure that everything has been double checked.
- Be prepared when something goes wrong: A bad situation could come upon you, regardless of your preparations. While driving, things may get out of hand. Suddenly, you may drive on an icy patch of the road, which may cause your car to swerve, hitting a tree or other cars.
- Drive slowly: If you have decided to drive during winter, you should have a realization that you are in a risky situation. You are not racing on the circuit and bad things could happen if you consistently stomp on the accelerator pedal. Other than driving slowly, you should also take other precautions. Even if it’s mildly foggy, you should turn the fog lights on. So, when fog gets thicker suddenly, drivers who come from the opposite direction could anticipate the movements of your car.
- Take breaks: Because the condition is riskier than usual, you need to be in a good mental and physical shape. After three or four hours of continuous driving, it’s a good idea to have another break. Look for a diner or gas station, where you can get warm drinks and it’s also a good opportunity to go to the restroom.