What You Need To Know Before Driving During Winter Holidays

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When winter holiday travel is at stake, airports and air travel often receive most of the attention. However, the truth is that most of the people traveling during winter pack their luggage in their cars and drive to their desired destinations.

Before embarking on their journey, drivers must perform some routine maintenance and look at state laws that could force them to change their manner of driving.

Here is what you should know before hitting the road:

Before you can embark on a long drive, you must be sure to have had sufficient sleep as well as a good meal or snack. Caffeine-rich beverages are not necessarily the best way to remain alert while driving. While you will probably feel more alert immediately you take the caffeine, the effects will recede with time, and you might lose your concentration even when you are awake.

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It is advisable to take short stops after every few hours even if you still feel alert. You could have a snack, enjoy some fresh air and walk around to stretch your muscles. And if need be, take a quick nap as well.

If possible, it is advisable to share the driving responsibilities with another person. This will allow you to watch each other’s backs when driving and enable each one of you to take a nap without stopping. If you are traveling alone, turn on your radio or play some music, and keep your window open. It is advisable that you refrain from relying on cruise control if you are driving during the night because having to remain alert to maintain your speed will help you remain alert.

And if you need to pull over, veer your car off the main road. You should never park in the breakdown lane or shoulder lane unless it is an emergency.

You should also be familiar with the laws along the route you are using regarding cell phone use when driving. While cell phone use could be acceptable in one area, it could be illegal elsewhere, and as they say, ignorance is no defense. Here are some cell phone usage laws by country and U.S. states (This information is subject to change). While it could be legal to converse on your cell phone when driving, it is safer to use a hands-free device. If you are not familiar with the driving laws, the best DWI lawyer Houston could provide a breakdown of the same.

Get all the essential maintenance done.

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It is advisable that you take one week to:

  • Replace the wiper blades
  • Check tread depth and the tire pressure
  • Refill your windshield washer reservoir
  • Perform a battery test

Even when you feel you are a bit behind on your to-do list, be sure to have every aspect taken care of. Do not leave your gate without a brake check or oil change as well, if you have been ignoring those.

Prepare an emergency traveling kit.

Your winter emergency kit must have jumper cables, a first aid kit, snow brush, and an ice scraper. Additionally, you should carry:

  • Cat litter, traction mats or sand
  • A small spade
  • Blankets, hats, and gloves
  • Warning triangles or flares and flashlights with fresh batteries
  • Paper towels or shop rags
  • non perishable snack bars and drinking water
  • Warm clothing
  • Basic hand tools
  • A mobile phone charger

Map Your Route

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It is advisable that you are well-versed with the route to your destination and an alternative navigation route as well. Brace yourself for traffic and busy roads. You could use your smartphone to check for heavy traffic in the direction you are heading. If don’t like driving in traffic, it is best that you leave late in the evening or at dawn when traffic is lighter.

Keep an eye on the weather.

You should be conversant with the conditions you will be driving through and not just the weather at your destination or where you are leaving. You might have to meander mountain passes before you get to your destination.

You could check CCN weather or your favorite weather prediction site for some insight into the current weather forecasts and conditions.

Polish your winter driving techniques

It is advisable that you increase your average following distance from the usual three or four seconds to eight or ten seconds. Avoid skidding by applying the gas gentle to gain momentum. Most important of all, just be patient and avoid distraction.

Secure your belongings

The holiday season is a prime period for thieves and a car packed with items in plain view will naturally attract them. To prevent yourself from being a tempting target, put all your luggage in a covered storage area like the trunk.

Keep your kids occupied and safe.

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Use DVDs, games, books or anything else that could keep your kids occupied and prevent them from distracting the driver. Remember that your kids will need bitings and you might need to make several stops so be ready to have more stops if you are traveling with kids.

Parents are also reminded to make sure that their kids are buckled in the vehicle using seat belts, booster seats or safety seats depending on their age, weight, and height.

Take a breather every 100 miles or two hours.

Adults require some rest as well. Having some periodic breaks during your travel with help you remain alert when you are on the highway.

Author Bio

Since that accident he was involved in 2009, Paul has been an active advocate of safe driving. He often attends seminar related to his advocacy. He is also interested in cars and different things about automotive.