This is a family travel post about ways to drive safely and stay safe on the road during the winter. Here are some safe winter driving tips and winter road safety tips to help keep you and your family safe during the holiday season.
Family Travel: Safe Winter Driving Tips and Winter Road Safety
As a family, we love to travel and often take long road trips together. Most of the time these family road trips are during the summer months, but over the last few years, we have done some winter driving as well. Two years ago, we flew to Denver, but then drove to Steamboat Springs, Colorado from there. Last year, was a road trip from Austin to Tucson and we are doing that same road trip again this winter.
One year, when driving from Angel Fire, New Mexico to Dallas, Texas, first we experienced snow near Amarillo, then Texas tumbleweed and dust storm near Dalhart, Texas. Look at the video below of our West Texas adventure through a dust storm and flying tumbleweed. It was a little scary as my husband tried to dodge huge tumbleweed.
Living in Texas, we do not see that much true winter weather. Even though my husband is from the north and used to driving during the winter, it is always good to have a refresher on safe winter driving tips, winter road safety, and how to drive in the snow. Here are some of the ways we try to stay safe on the road during the winter. I also did some research and found some other good resources and tips to help you and your family stay safe on the road this winter.
Safe Winter Driving Tips for Family Travel
Use the following tips for winter road safety as you travel by car during the holidays.
Your Safe Winter Road Trip Route
Pay attention to weather reports before and during your trip and have alternate routes planned in case of severe weather. Before you leave, be sure to let others know of your planned route and estimated arrival time.
Self-Care for Winter Road Safety
Before you start driving, make sure you are well-rested and clear-headed. Get good nights of sleep leading up to your travel.
Drive Safe with Winter Car-Care
Before the trip, take your car to be inspected in order to make sure it is in good operating condition. At the very least, the tires, brakes, fluids, and more should all be checked. Start planning your trip early, so that if your car is in poor condition, you will have time to either sell or fix it.
Family Travel Road Trips During the Winter and Emergency Planning
Have a good first-aid and emergency kit as well as a plan for action if anything should happen. In our road trip first aid kit I included hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, Tylenol, anti-histamine. Check the expiration on these products and keep in mind, you can also buy pre-assembled first aid kits. In addition, be sure you have some extra winter clothes and blankets for your car and a good ice scraper. You may benefit from joining an auto club so that you can take advantage of their roadside assistance if needed. We were so thankful to have a AAA membership when we got a flat tire on the highway in Arkansas.
Electronics Care for Safe Winter Driving
At the start of your trip, make sure your important electronic devices (such as cell phones) are fully charged and that you have all of the necessary chargers and batteries.
Comfort During Winter Car Travel
As best as you can, try to keep the car’s internal temperature as comfortable as possible. I find I get sleepy when the car is too warm. For younger kids in car seats, in order to ensure the seatbelts fit properly, remove their heavy clothing and jackets before the start of the drive.
Watch the Gas Tank During a Road Trip
During the winter, keep your gas tank at least half-filled. This will help avoid gas line freezing. It’s always a good idea to have plenty of gas anyway. For example, there are long stretches of I-10 in West Texas that are limited in gas stations. The largest gaps between towns are El Paso to Van Horn (120 miles) and Van Horn to Fort Stockton (also around 120 miles). We almost had a gas situation between Fort Stockton and Ozono, Texas. Our Odessey was displaying 0 miles until empty on the dash. That was a stressful time. We barely made it Ozona.
Winter Road Safety Tips for Driving in the Snow
If you will be driving in snow and ice, here are some tips for driving in the snow from AAA. In the winter weather, you’ll want to drive slowly, accelerate/decelerate slowly, use threshold braking, and don’t power up hills.
Drive Safe this Winter
Drive safe during the holidays with these safe winter driving tips and winter road travel tips. With these tips, I hope you have a fun, safe time traveling with your family.
Please leave comments and let us know where you like to travel during the wintertime with your family.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.