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Trying to get out of the house for a winter road trip? Most of us love a good drive—open roads, new sights, and a great journey often appeal to the explorers within us.
However, embarking on a road trip during the winter, especially across the country, can be a bit of a different beast and come with its own unique situations and circumstances. Driving in black ice, whiteout conditions, and heavy snow can be very dangerous and even downright deadly, so you must proceed cautiously.
This will require more preparation and planning, but making a trek across the country in the middle of winter can be a rewarding feat to undertake. To help ensure you get to your cross-country destination through a winter wonderland, this article will provide a few key tricks to help you get there safe and sound.
Tips for Planning a Winter Road Trip Across the Country
While more effort goes into planning and preparing for a winter road trip across the country, it’s not incredibly complicated. Most people love to have a winter staycation, or cuddle up at home, but for some adventurers, a road trip through the colder months is an amazing idea. To help guide you and make the process a little easier, here are some key tips and tricks for you to keep in mind:
Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Weather
The first step in getting ready for a winter road trip is ensuring your automobile is prepared for the winter roads and any weather that may come your way. Like with any road trip, you’re going to want to get a proper inspection to ensure your vehicle is in good shape to get you there and back, and take care of any problems that may exist before heading out.
Ensure you’re topped off on antifreeze and have wiper fluid rated for freezing temperatures. If you’re expecting to see snow along your travels, you’ll want to invest in a good set of snow tires. Also, consider having a spare set of chains to put on your tires if you think you’ll encounter heavier snow along the way.
Have A Winter Emergency Kit
Another important part of preparing for a winter road trip across the country is having a set of emergency supplies on hand to help you in the event of any issues. Your emergency kit should include the following items:
- Salt/Cat Litter
- Ice Scraper
- Compact Shovel
- Non-perishable food
You may also want to consider bringing extra warm clothing, such as sweaters, jackets, hats, and gloves. If you or anyone coming along is prescribed medication, ensure you have this available as well.
Check The Weather
Before setting out on your cross-country winter road trip, you will want to know the weather of the places along your route ahead of time. Doing so will help you plan a more efficient route, as you can avoid any heavy snowstorms or icy roadway conditions. Checking the weather can also help inform you of any potential black ice advisories or road closures to work around.
While checking the weather before you plan your route is a great way to help you make it, you’ll also want to periodically review the weather throughout your journey and look out for any changes in forecasting you may need to account for.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
The winter can come with extreme weather, so you’re going to want to plan out the route you’re taking to your destination ahead of time, as well as leave earlier to account for any potential delays. This will help you see all the must-see spots on your list, as well as plan accommodations, what to pack, and more.
Taking a more southern route allows you to avoid many of the headaches and hassles that come with driving in winter weather, but this isn’t always possible. For instance, this doesn’t make much sense if you’re going from a northern destination across the country to another destination in the north.
If you have to drive through areas that may encounter winter weather, try to avoid regions experiencing heavy snow or icy conditions if possible. Remember that you may get stuck along the way, so give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you’re trying to go.
Having The Best Winter Road Trip Across The Country
Embarking on a road trip across the country in the winter can be tricky, but it’s definitely doable. With the right planning on preparation, you can make your cross-country winter road trip as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible.
You could also consider shipping your vehicle to your destination if you don’t feel like driving it there, although admittedly, this is the less-fun route to take.