3 Critical Safety Tips for Winter Road Trips

While sunny days on the beach get all the attention, there's a certain magical appeal that comes with winter road trips. Whether you're planning a family vacation to the slopes or a romantic getaway, driving through a snowy winter wonderland has an undeniable appeal. Of course, any long road trip requires preparation and attention to safety, and that's doubly true in the colder months.

If you're gearing up for one of these trips, these three tips will help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable journey, even if you run into some unexpected difficulties.

1. Know Your Route

Winter driving can be unpredictable, especially if traveling over unfamiliar roads or through rural areas. Instead of relying solely on your GPS, spend some time familiarizing yourself with your route and the surrounding area. This extra preparation step will ensure that you don't find yourself traveling on dangerous, unplowed, or poorly maintained roads.

Understanding your route and making changes to stay near populated areas can also help if you run into trouble. If you get stuck in bad weather or suffer a breakdown, you're more likely to have access to around-the-clock towing services in less remote areas. As a result, help will be much closer, and you won't have to wait as long to get yourself out of a sticky situation.

2. Prepare for the Worst

There are plenty of ways you might find yourself stuck if you're traveling in the winter. If the weather turns unexpectedly, you may need to pull off on the side of the road and wait out the storm. Getting stuck is also a possibility, and it may be necessary to call on a tow truck to get free, even if you drive a relatively capable vehicle with AWD.

While it's never fun to think about the worst possibilities, a little preparation never hurts. Keeping a few bottles of water, some snacks, and a blanket in your car can be helpful if you find yourself waiting a few hours for rescue. If you know you'll be driving in remote areas, consider packing a complete emergency kit and some extra supplies.

3. Learn How to Remain Safe

Carbon monoxide is a hazard for motorists stuck in snowy areas. If you're stuck in an area with snow, running your car while you wait for a tow truck can be potentially dangerous. Always check your exhaust pipes to ensure they're clear, and avoid running the vehicle more than necessary to keep the interior warm.

If your tow truck will take more than an hour to arrive, be sure to shut your car off and periodically check the exhaust, especially if it's still snowing or windy enough for snowdrifts to form. If possible, it's also a good idea to leave a window open slightly.  

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