We may not typically get a white Christmas here in the NW, but many people go in search of powder in pursuit of all kinds of winter activities. While these adventures are fun for everyone involved, there are some important things to consider when preparing to embark on your journey. We hope these tips will keep you safe and warm on your trips to come.
- Emergency Kit – Whether it’s white-out conditions and you can’t drive, or a flat tire going over the pass, it’s important to be prepared for any situation. Building a small emergency kit can keep you safe while you find a solution to whatever has you stopped. Some things to consider packing would be a camp shovel, extra blankets, water, protein bars or other high calorie snacks, and some basic tools. Being prepared goes a long way when it’s cold out and your options are limited.
- Tire Check – As with any road trip, it’s imperative that your tires are ready for the journey. If you’re going to be driving through ice and snow you want to make sure you have tires that are in good condition at a minimum. It’s a good idea to have all season tires, and if you plan to do quite a bit of driving in inclement weather it may be a good choice to get a special set of winter tires. If you’ve been putting off getting new tires for any reason, replacing them before your trip is the safe choice. Also, even if you have AWD or 4WD, make sure you have chains with you in case they are required, and practice putting them on and taking them off somewhere safe if you can.
- Pack Smart – While it may be tempting to just shove everything into the car and get going, try to ensure there’s a method to the madness. Putting things into your vehicle while taking into consideration how easy it is to access necessities in case of an emergency can make a huge difference. Even if it’s just getting to your snacks easily at the rest stop!
- Be Aware – These might seem obvious but are important to note. If the weather is below freezing, make sure to watch out for black ice, this can be very difficult to see especially at night. When going over bridges use extra caution, as ice tends to form on them more readily. If you have to pull over due to conditions such as a white-out or blizzard, make sure you find somewhere safe to do so. While it may seem best to just get off the road as soon as things start getting dicey, it’s usually better to wait until you find a clear spot out of the way of traffic. Finally, never try and pass a snow plow while it’s working. This can be disastrous and they’re moving the snow out of the road for you anyways.
Hopefully these tips will ensure you have a fun and safe trip this winter. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to road safety. Getting where you’re going in one piece is much more important than getting there quickly.