Whether it’s driving over to a family member’s house to celebrate the holidays or attempting to squeeze in one last vacation before the year ends, it’s important to take into account how severe winter weather can alter your transit. For those who are traveling this season, here are some senior friendly suggestions to consider when it comes to staying safe:
Before you hit the road, you should ensure your car is up for it. Make sure you take your vehicle into a repair shop for a routine inspection, just so you can be sure that there are no surprises during your journey. You can also check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s winter driving checklist prior to heading out, which emphasizes a variety of car maintenance tips such as proper tire inspection and when to replace your vehicle’s battery.
Never drive tired
While driving on quality tires is essential to winter traveling, operating a vehicle if your tired is a big no-no. More often than not, the weather conditions in the winter will require the utmost alertness and patience, two characteristics that typically are in low supply when you are fatigued. Get plenty of rest the night before you head out for your trip, and don’t be afraid to pull over and rest if you begin to feel yourself nodding off.
Keep your tank full
It’s highly recommended never to let your gas tank fall below the halfway marker throughout the entire winter season. The less fuel you have inside of your car, the easier it becomes for gas to freeze up, which can make it nearly impossible to start your vehicle. If this occasion does arise, there are various products available that can help thaw your gas tank out, and unfreeze the fuel inside your car.
Stay up to date
With all the preparation that goes into planning out a road trip, not staying alert about the upcoming weather conditions is an easy mistake to make before leaving. Besides remembering to pack your favorite holiday sweater and toothbrush, keep yourself updated about the weather forecasts ahead so no nasty snowstorms or blistering winds force you to make a prolonged pit stop.
This may go without saying, but safe driving during the winter time cannot be stressed enough. If the roads are icy or snow is beginning to obstruct your vision, you need to slow down and make sure you can see all the spots around your car. Slamming on the brakes is one of the quickest ways to lose control of your vehicle, and most likely won’t be necessary when you drive well under the speed limit. Remember, getting to your destination a few hours late is better than never arriving there at all.
Prepare for emergency
Your car can be just as unpredictable as the weather during the winter season, so make sure you’re adequately prepared for any roadside emergencies. This can range to everything from a first-aid kit, warm clothes in case you need to exit the vehicle or a fully-charged cell phone, which should also never be used while driving.
Don’t feel pressured
If there’s nothing but winter advisory warnings on your TV channels, maybe you should consider delaying your traveling plans. Don’t let your holiday plans override your common sense, and recognize that when the weather is simply too nasty, staying home is always the safest decision.