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Network Health Blog

Winter Car Safety and Traveling Tips

woman checking her car engine bay for issue during winter

Winter is off to a brutally cold start and the subzero temperatures can make travel hazardous. It’s important to adequately prepare for traveling in winter weather. Here are some tips to make sure you and your family stay safe, warm and healthy this winter.

Tips for staying safe while driving in the winter

Ensure your vehicle is in good working order. 

A breakdown in cold weather can mean headaches and exposure to potentially unsafe conditions. Take your car in for regular maintenance and address recommendations, including wipers and defrost capabilities. Tires should be in good condition – this is not an area to cut costs. Tires provide traction and keep you on the road in slick conditions.

Keep the right supplies on hand.

Whether in your trunk or the inside of your car, make sure you pack the following items.

  • Blankets
  • Warm clothes (boots, gloves and hat)
  • Hand/foot warmers
  • Car safety kit (includes jumper cables, stopped vehicle flares or reflectors and a flashlight)
  • Extra container of windshield wiper fluid
  • Ice/snow scraper
  • Protein bars or other non-perishable food
  • Phone charger

Plan your route ahead of time.

Know how long it will take you to travel, and allow extra time for inclement weather. Take the roads most likely to be clear. Preferably, avoid traveling altogether during bad weather. Services like Google Maps or Apple Maps will alert you to any detours or closures that may affect your preferred route.

Communicate travel plans, routes and whereabouts.

When traveling, make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you.

Drive only if you are fit to do so.

The winter holidays also mean long nights in good company. If you are too tired, ill or have had alcohol, it is not a good idea to drive. Winter conditions may call for a sharp reaction time, which may not be possible if you're tired, ill or under the influence. If you're traveling with another driver, rotate driving responsibility to keep fresh eyes on the road and fresh hands on the wheel throughout your journey.

Drive cautiously.

It should seem obvious, but many people don’t make adjustments to their driving habits for the winter. Allow extra room for stopping, drive at reduced speeds to account for conditions, use your turn signals while trying to stay in one lane of traffic and keep a close eye out for deer or other stopped drivers.

Drive safe and have a great winter.

For most of the year, we simply jump into our cars and take off with little pre-planning. But as the temperatures drop, taking simple precautions can help protect you and your family from harm.


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