5 WINTER ROAD TRIP SAFETY TIPS
Here are five safety checks you should carry out prior to hitting the road:
Get winter tires
If you don’t already have winter tires you need to get them now. No ifs, and, or buts. Winter in Canada is too unpredictable to rely on all-season tires; especially if you’re going on a long trip. Just because it isn’t snowing out doesn’t mean the roads aren’t slippery. Be smart and get winter tires before you leave.
Once you get winter tires, make sure they’re properly inflated. Not only will this increase your fuel economy, but it will also lower the risk of a blowout.
Check the weather
It should go without saying, but you should never drive more than a short distance without checking the weather beforehand. With snow or freezing rain capable of hitting at any time during the winter months, it’s downright foolish to embark on a long trip without planning ahead.
If conditions are really poor, it’s likely in your best interest to cancel the trip altogether.
Plan your route ahead of time
Problems can arise if you’re concentrating the majority of your energy on where you’re supposed to go, instead of focusing on the surrounding traffic. Take some time before you leave and check out your route on Google Maps. While you should still use your GPS as a backup, it’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead of the curve.
If you’re confident in where you’re going, you won’t have to worry about any added distractions. If you haven’t heard about the Waze app, look into downloading it (it’s free!). Waze is the crowd-supported GPS app that not only knows how to get you anywhere, it can re-route you around traffic, contruction etc.
Pack a survival kit
While it may be uncomfortable to consider the possibility, you always run the risk of getting stranded on the road whenever you’re travelling a long distance. As a result, you should always come prepared.
Pack warm blankets, food and water, a candle, phone chargers and a lighter before you leave. You could also consider bringing a shovel and sand in case you get stuck in the snow. If you don’t already have roadside assistance, you should seriously consider it. CAA is a solid, inexpensive option for roadside assistance.
Inspect your windshield wipers
Check your wiper blades to see if they’re damaged or worn out. If you haven’t replaced them in a few years, it’s probably time for a new set. You could have a difficult time seeing the road ahead if you’re driving when it’s snowing or freezing rain and your windshield wipers aren’t in good shape.
You should also top off your windshield washer fluid (and any other fluids for that matter) before leaving.
Bonus tip: Call ahead
Before leaving on any trip, let others (ideally a few people) know your intended destination and the route you plan to take. If problems arise and you don’t arrive – someone can check up on you or let the appropriate authorities know.
Plan ahead and be safe this holiday season!
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