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Wintertime Road Trip Checklist

Jeep parked in snow

Regardless of the time of year at home, when traveling you may come across cold, winter weather. And it’s good to be prepared if you have cold, snowy weather at home. Whether it’s freezing temperatures or snow, here is a how to stay prepared and safe during your winter or cold weather travels.

Be sure to keep the following items in your vehicle at all times during winter or cold weather travel:

  • Several bottles of water
  • Small supply of snacks
  • Flashlight
  • Spare batteries
  • Fully charged mobile device charger
  • Fully charged mobile device
  • First-aid kit
  • Physical map of the location you will be traveling in case digital devices run out of battery or are not working correctly
  • Snow tire chains (it is recommended to practice putting on tire chains before you hit the snow to help ensure proper application during poor weather situations)
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraping device and de-icer product (cat litter can also help to provide traction if a vehicle gets stuck in the snow and can be a good item to keep on hand)
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency vehicle kit, including flares and warning triangles
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Blanket or emergency foil blanket
  • Spare set of warm clothes, including a jacket, warm socks, gloves and a warm hat or beanie

Also, before you hit the road in cold weather, it’s recommended to perform a quick check of your vehicle to help prevent the possibility of a winter breakdown.

Be sure to check the following on your vehicle before you hit the road when it’s cold:

  • Ensure all vehicle maintenance is up to date and no warning or service lights are illuminated
  • Check your coolant/antifreeze levels and, if needed, fill to manufacturer recommended level
  • Check your vehicle’s oil levels and fill to manufacturer recommended level, if needed
  • Have your battery checked and tested and ensure it’s in proper working order with a proper charge and that all cables are clean and properly connected
  • Check tire pressure and tire tread and consider utilizing winter tread or snow tires
  • Check that all headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals work
  • Check that the interior heating system is in working order, and repair if necessary
  • Keep your fuel tank filled as much as possible and never let it drop below a quarter tank to ensure fuel in case of weather-related travel delays
  • Fix any cracks or breaks in the windshield, as they can make the glass more susceptible to damage during the winter or cold
  • Ensure snow is removed from your vehicle (roof, hood, trunk, etc.), as it adds weight to your vehicle and can be a hazard to other drivers on the road around you if it falls off while driving

And, once you are on the road stay safe and remember the following when driving in cold, ice, or snow:

  • Watch out for “black ice,” which is thin clear ice that can be hard to see and can make a vehicle very hard to safely control
  • Drive slower and take your time, give yourself more time to get where you are going
  • Be easy on the brakes and allow for plenty of additional stopping time
  • Check the road conditions before you hit the road, especially when traveling longer distances, and check for possible road closures or extreme conditions
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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