Prepare for your winter road trip

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Keys in ignition
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 20, 2007. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: car rental, Christine Sarkis, family travel, holiday, road trip, winter.

Along with millions of other travelers, my holiday plans include a road trip to see family. My route goes through cities and up snowy mountains, and has me thinking about ways to ensure a safe and pleasant winter road trip.

Here are my top suggestions:

  • Check weather on your route: If the weather looks nasty, consider adjusting your driving time to avoid the worst of the bad weather. If you will have to drive during a storm, aim to arrive at your destination before it gets dark.'s interstate forecast map can be useful, especially for longer drives.
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  • Start with a clean car: A car with clean windows means you'll be faced with fewer visibility problems along the way. A car that's tidy on the inside means you'll have easier access to important things like maps and snacks.
  • Pack an emergency kit: You may never need it, but you should keep one in your car for the same reason you keep that spare tire: Just in case. Emergency kits usually include flares, a first-aid kit, a few tools, and other indispensable items for a variety of roadside emergencies. It's also a good idea to make sure your cell phone is charged before you leave.
  • Make it fun: Stave off boredom with entertainment and snacks. A pleasant ride to your destination will decrease the dread of the return journey, and allow you to better enjoy your time away.

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