This is a collaborative post.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and it is a great opportunity to spend time with family and for comfort food and holiday parties. Many people travel to reconnect with their loved ones who live in other towns and cities, and this is why traffic is typically worse during this period. Traffic is not the only concern if you are planning a road trip this winter. We will be looking at a few things you should prepare before leaving on your trip.
Apply for an IDP
If you’re planning to cross borders during your winter road trip, ensure you have an international driver’s license. Depending on the country you’re visiting, you may not be able to drive without one. Some countries have bilateral agreements recognizing each other’s driver’s licenses, so you may not need an international driver’s license if you’re driving in those countries. However, it’s always a good idea to check with the local authorities to be sure. Even if you’re just driving through a country, it’s always a good idea to have one just in case.
Applying for an international driver’s license is easy and relatively inexpensive — you can usually get one through your local auto club, or apply for a license online.
Get Accurate Weather Forecasts
It is important to know what the weather will be like wherever you go. While nothing is guaranteed, numerous online services provide very accurate weather forecasts. Having this information at hand will help you avoid many of the issues you will encounter should the weather turn on you.
Test the Battery
The battery gets the car to start and runs the entertainment system that you will rely on when on the road trip. The battery should be healthy enough to start the vehicle whenever you need it to, charge adequately, and hold enough power for a few hours of light use. You do not want the battery failing to start the vehicle when you are on the road, which is why you should get it tested beforehand.
Pack Your Winter Gear
You should ensure you pack enough winter clothes including scarves, boots, gloves, hats, and coats. However, it is best to keep light but warm clothes on while in the car and switch to heavier clothes outdoors. It might seem counterintuitive, but heavy gloves can interfere with your ability to steer and to get feedback from the steering system, while heavy boots can interfere with the pedals. Puffy winter coats worn by kids can interfere with seat restraints, causing them to fit properly. Because there may be some erratic driving somewhere on your trip, you want these restraints to fit well.
Switch to Winter Car Mats
Most people do not know that winter car mats exist. These mats work much harder than other types of mats to keep your car’s floor clean. They are typically made of thicker materials with a plastic or rubber lip around the edges.
This lip traps soil, rain, snow, salt and dirt, preventing them from getting to the car’s floor. Keeping moisture and salt from getting under the car mats is crucial because it helps reduce the impact of both, since they cause corrosion and impact your vehicle’s lifespan.
Also, you should ensure that the car mats you pick are made to fit your vehicle. By doing so, you avoid insufficient coverage or a bulky one that will interfere with your feet and thus the ability to drive safely.
Switch to Winter Tyres
Winter tyres have deeper treads that give them several benefits. These tyres:
- Have superior stopping power
- Provide better traction
- Ensure better handling in challenging conditions
The tips above are a great place to start when planning a winter road trip. Also, remember to carry an emergency kit, keep emergency contacts close and get the oil changed for better performance.