For many, the holiday season means staying inside with eggnog, cookies, and terrible movies, but the reality is it also usually means plenty of driving time.
From visiting family on extended road trips to attending far-flung holiday parties around the city, getting from place to place is as synonymous with the holidays as a virtual crackling yule log fire.
Stay safe this year and keep the holiday mishaps to the kitchen with these winter driving tips.
Pack an emergency kit
Being safe during a winter drive is as much about being prepared as it is about making sure your car is winter road-ready. Check that you’ve got the tools you need, just in case things go south during your drive.
In your kit, include things like sturdy winter gloves, a shovel, booster cables, a window brush, windshield wiper fluid, water, matches, blankets, and a first aid kit. Keeping non-perishable food in the car is also a good idea!
Don’t let the cold get you down
Embarking on a winter road trip is all fun and games until you start to feel the cold setting in. Nobody wants to drive wearing a parka, gloves, and bulky boots — plus, it’s not the safest since you have less mobility and your foot could slip off the pedal. Instead, bring some heat pads so you can warm up your hands and have a cozy blanket on standby.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Cold weather, long distances to cover, often icy conditions — being in the driver’s seat for a road trip isn’t always easy. You’ve got to be focused on your surroundings the entire time to ensure the safety of everyone in the vehicle. Without several cups of coffee, most mere mortals get tired, and when you’re feeling a little off at the wheel, the potential for accidents to occur is higher. Be sure to take frequent breaks throughout your trip to make sure you’re alert and focused on the drive ahead.
Let it snow (tires and chains)
Driving in snow is second nature for most, but no matter your level of snow driving experience, it helps to have a vehicle that can compensate for difficult road conditions. You can level up with things like snow tires and chains, but having an all-wheel-drive (AWD) allows you to increase traction in slippery winter conditions. Reading up on features like anti-lock brakes (ABS) also helps so you know what to do if you end up in a tough situation.
Keep your car fog-free
Driving along a major highway with foggy windows is our definition of a nightmare. You can’t clearly see what’s ahead or behind you, and if it’s snowing on top of that, it’s extra dangerous. But don’t worry, there are some ways you can quickly fog-proof your car. For starters, applying some shaving cream to the windows inside the car will prevent them from fogging up overnight — trust us, this works.
Another thing to be mindful of is topping up your windshield fluid (and fuel!). The last thing you want is to be stuck on a remote road with a dirty windshield and no means of cleaning it or to run out of fuel when the nearest gas station is two towns over. Get ahead of the game and give yourself peace of mind by checking these things before you hit the road.
This holiday season, don’t risk a thing – make safety and smart driving practices your number one priority, whether it’s a long drive or short one.