How to Prepare Your Car For Winter Road Trips

We may not get a lot of snow here in Atlanta, but many people are traveling north for the holiday season. The holiday season is an extremely popular time to travel to visit friends and families. Hopper Media says, “54% of Americans who take time off over the holidays plan to drive their own car to their destination.” Before you leave for your winter road trip, it is important that you are prepared and that your car is ready and equipped for your winter road trip. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys want to ensure everyone travels safely this holiday season. So before you leave on your holiday travels, we are providing tips on preparing your car for your winter road trips.

How to get your car ready for a winter road trip

As you get your car ready for your road trip, think about all the weather you could encounter as you drive to your destination. You could face snow, blizzards, black ice, and bitterly cold temperatures.

The first step is making sure your car is ready for a winter road trip. Talk with your mechanic and tell them you need a winter tune-up and are preparing to drive long distances.

Some areas they pay special attention to are:

  • Check the condition of your tires. Tires that are worn or bald can easily slip on ice.
  • Look at the quality of your windshield wipers. This may be one of your car’s easiest and most inexpensive items to change. It’s best to get new wipers every one to two years.
  • Add antifreeze to the radiator. When traveling in cold weather, your car needs antifreeze to help regulate your engine’s temperature.
  • Your mechanic should also do a safety inspection of your car with a tune-up.

What you should have in your car during your winter road trip

It is wise to pack some extra winter car care items for your road trip. You never know when you will be on back roads, without cell service, or caught in a winter storm. Having additional items and not needing them is better than being stuck in the snow and not having what would help you.

A few key items to pack in your car for a winter road trip are:

  • Sand or kitty litter – will help your tires find traction if you are stuck in the snow. Without it, your wheels will spin (the same as if you’re stuck in some Georgia mud).
  • An ice scraper – Get an ice scraper with a long handle instead of those small hand-held scrapers. If you stay somewhere cold overnight, you may need to scrape your car windows in the morning.
  • Jumper cables – Great when your batter has died or when you can help another driver. Having jumper cables is standard for those who regularly travel in cold weather.
  • Extra windshield washer fluid – it’s surprising how much of this you will go through. Driving on dirty and wet roads with melted snow means you’ll need a lot of windshield wiper fluid.
  • A warm blanket (and maybe extra clothing) – if you’re stuck, broken down, or even in a hotel with a cold room. A warm blanket always comes in handy during the winter.
  • A first-aid kit – it’s good to be prepared for anything, so it’s always a good idea to have a first-aid kit in your car.
  • Sunglasses – the bright sun on the snow is almost blinding when you’re driving. Make sure to bring sunglasses and have an extra pair handy.

Once your car is maintained and packed, you’ll want to review your driving plan again.

How you should plan your winter road trip

Driving in snow is much different than being on a dry road. Here are some tips for those who are not used to winter trips. Also, these are good reminders for those accustomed to driving in snow.

  • Become familiar with the route. If this is your first time driving to the holiday home, review your route a few times. Will you be hitting large cities, small towns, or spans of no towns? Only follow your GPS after first understanding the layout, especially in the winter.
  • Check the forecast. Be sure to watch the weather forecast for the entire way along your trip. You may be able to avoid a winter storm by staying an extra day at a hotel or adjusting your schedule.
  • Driving in snow or winter weather conditions means going slower. Set a slow and steady pace, and don’t force yourself to rush.

What you should do if you’re in a car accident during your winter road trip

If you’re on a winter road trip and are unfortunately in a car accident, you should first try to get your car out of traffic and call the police. If you can, try to document as much as possible at the scene. Once you are safe and seek medical treatment, injuries do not always immediately show themselves. Your next step should be to call a car accident attorney.

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