Winter can be a very dangerous time, particularly when you make your living on the road. Being properly prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store before you head out can help ensure you safely reach your destination.
Prepare Your Vehicle
A reliable vehicle is especially important in winter, so conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection before every trip as required by federal regulations. Pay special attention to tires, brakes, the defroster and windshield wipers, and add a special antifreeze solvent to the windshield washer reservoir to prevent icing. Remove any ice and snow from windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, and the hood and roof before departing, and along the way as needed for good visibility. Make sure that your vehicle’s cooling system is full and check the freezing point of the antifreeze to ensure it is appropriate for conditions. Fill the fuel tank before leaving, and stop to fill up long before the tank begins to run low to help prevent ice from forming in the fuel line. Besides, extra fuel may be needed if you’re forced to change routes due to poor weather conditions.
Carry A Winter Survival Kit
For personal protection, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with a winter storm survival kit that contains, at a minimum, a cell phone and charger, a flashlight with batteries, a first aid kit, extra clothing, a blanket, non-perishable food, bottled water, a windshield scraper/brush, lock de-icer, a small shovel, and prescription medications. A lengthy delay on snow-choked roads will make you glad you are well-prepared.
Plan Your Route
Map out your destination and have alternate routes planned should any road be closed due to extreme weather conditions. Check the weather forecast before heading out and frequently along the way as conditions can change often. Other drivers, local radio stations and online tools such Accuweather, the National Weather Service and State Department of Transportation websites can provide invaluable information on the latest weather and road conditions. Also, keep in mind that, snow will likely fall faster than it can be cleared, so be sure to al- low yourself extra time to reach your destination. Importantly, if especially bad weather is in the forecast, consider the risk and need to travel.
Remember, winter road trips – even short ones – can challenge even the most seasoned drivers. However, by following some simple driving habits like being properly prepared, staying vigilant, adding more space around your vehicle, and SLOWING DOWN, you can help ensure your safety on the road all winter long.