Tips for safe winter travel

Taking precautions for safe winter travel can help you have a happy and stress-free holiday season. Cold weather often brings less-than-ideal travel conditions due to snow, ice and wind. Whether you’re headed out by car to visit family or jetting away to someplace warmer, taking a few precautionary steps now will make sure your holiday travel is smooth sailing.

What to do when planning to travel in winter

The first step you should take to ensure safe winter travel is to check the weather forecast. Things like snow, low temperatures and icy conditions affect all travelers, whether they’re going by car or by plane. If you’re driving, it’s a good idea to check the road conditions along your travel route, especially if there’s been snow or a cold snap, to make sure there are no warnings or advisories against traveling in the area.

The National Weather Service is a great resource for finding information about travel conditions. Winter weather can also mean trouble for air travel. Before you leave for the airport, make a list of important contact numbers, such as for your air carrier, and keep them handy in case of delays.

How to prep for winter car trips

Before driving over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, have your trusty carriage (or car) inspected by a mechanic. Let your mechanic know you’re planning on taking a trip. He or she can make recommendations like tire chains or winter tires based on your destination and the conditions you’re likely to encounter. Ask the mechanic to check that your fluids are topped off and your battery is in good condition.

Before you head out, make sure you have the right supplies with you in case your car gets stuck in the snow. Ready.gov suggests you keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with things like:

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  • A shovel
  • Snack foods
  • A flashlight and batteries
  • Scarves, hat and mittens
  • Kitty litter or road salt
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flares

It might also be a good idea to brush up on your winter driving skills. AAA has a list of straightforward tips for safe winter driving.

Safe winter travel tips

Here are a few other things to keep in mind to make sure your holiday travel is merry and bright:

  • Reduce your risk of getting sick while you’re on holiday vacation. Getting a flu vaccine and taking preventative measures like washing your hands often can help keep your family healthy.
  • Encourage your family members, especially your elderly loved ones, to wear shoes with good traction to prevent slipping on ice.
  • TravelSense suggests you pack as light as possible for holiday travel. This will help you reduce baggage fees; but more importantly, it also means carrying less over slippery surfaces.

No one can prevent snowy weather during the holidays. But by taking a few precautions, you and your family can enjoy safe winter travel.

Image source: Flickr


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