Heading Out for the Holidays This Year? Check Out These 5 Winter Travel Tips


According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “winter is back.” This upcoming holiday season is expected to be numbingly cold in the Great Lakes, Northeast and Midwest. Jack Frost may have been on vacation last year, but this year’s prediction says otherwise. Be prepared for the weather ahead of you by ensuring you and your vehicle are up to the many challenges the snow may throw at you.

Here are five winter travel tips from Smyth Automotive to make sure that your holiday season is not as treacherous as the weather outside.

  1. Make Sure You Are Fully Charged

Having clean connections, as well as a fully charged battery is a must. As colder temperatures approach, they naturally act as an inhibitor, slowing down your battery’s internal reactions. If your battery is weak, power can’t be properly supplied to the areas of the vehicle that need it in order to run effectively. If you’ve had your car battery for more than three years, you need to think about replacing it. Head to a mechanic for a scheduled maintenance inspection and have your battery tested.

  1. Check Your Tires

Your tires are the only source of contact between your vehicle and the pavement, and they play a vital role in your safety. Every time the temperature decreases by 10 degrees, so does one pound of pressure per square inch in your tires. In your owner’s manual, you can find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. Also, depending on your geographical location you may want to swap your regular tires for winter ones to ensure safe tread for your holiday journeys.

  1. Always have a Clear View

Safe winter driving means maintaining the best possible visibility. Make sure you always have a clear view of the road. Snow, ice and the dirty tire spray from the cars in front of you can cause you to go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid. Completely fill the reservoir before the first snow hits, and be sure to keep extra fluid in your vehicle. Also, check your windshield wipers and defrosters. Make sure your wipers are working properly and replace worn blades if necessary. And check to see that your front and rear window defrosters are in working order.

  1. Remain Calm

Sliding or skidding can happen during icy and snowy conditions. When your car starts to slide, gently steer in the direction you wish to go. And, most importantly, do not slam on your brakes. This will not only make it harder to gain control, but it can upset the balance of your vehicle. Allow at least a car’s length distance between you and the car in front of you. If you find yourself in a situation where your wheel begins to spin, release from your accelerator and allow your tires to gain some traction.

  1. Be Prepared

Last, but certainly not least, you need to be prepared in case of an accident or other emergency during your winter travels. Here are a few things you should have in your vehicle at all times.

  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Basic tool kit
  • Traction material (kitty litter or sand)
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Blanket
  • Warm clothes
  • Booster cables
  • First-aid kit
  • Flares
  • Extra food and water
  • Always have at least half a tank of gasoline

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