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Travel safety is important during any season, but especially in winter, when freezing temperatures and long nights can pose extra dangers for you and your passengers.
Before heading out anywhere in your vehicle, tell a friend or family member where you’re going, including the planned route, and when you anticipate arriving. Keep them updated on any major route or arrival changes so if you are delayed due to a car emergency, they will know. And make sure your cell phone is turned on at all times!
Next, make sure your vehicle is stocked with the following:
- A full fuel tank
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cell phone and charger
- Non-perishable food and drinking water
- Shovel and sand or rock salt
- Hat, gloves and a blanket
- Tools (screwdriver, duct tape, twine)
- First-aid kit
- Pocket knife
- Matches or lighter
- Battery jumper cables
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Paper towels
- Extra washer fluid (and a spare pair of windshield wipers)
- If you’re traveling with kids or a baby, pack extra food, warm clothes and blankets, toys and games, and extra diapers just in case.
Next, make sure your car is ready to handle any type of storm.
- Make sure your heater and defroster are working properly. And always use properly mixed antifreeze, not water in your radiator.
- Check all your lights—headlights, tail lights, brake lights, signal lights, fog lights.
- Fill up your window-washer fluid.
- Make sure your belts and hoses are not loose or brittle or bloated.
- Check your windshield wipers; they need to be in great condition.
- Make sure your battery is strong. One additional tip: If your battery is close to its expiration date, be proactive, not reactive, and replace it before it dies so you can do it at your convenience.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated tires; they will give you the best traction.
- Check the air in your spare tire.
- Check your tire treads—it’s the tread that grips the road and repels water.