Those of us lucky enough to live in the kind climate of St. Petersburg, Florida can easily forget the torment suffered by those in the northern states, as snow falls and ice builds up on the roadways. While we can revel in our warm temperatures and lack of snow fall, our lack of experience in the snowy conditions can also be highly problematic during the holiday season if we travel to snowy destinations for holiday travel plans.
If you are leaving Saint Petersburg headed for family in any of the northern states, you should be prepared for the weather that you may encounter.
Just as millions of Americans hit the highways with dreams of holiday feasts, gifts exchanged, and time with friends and family, Mother Nature can be whipping up some truly atrocious storms. So, there are a few things that you will want to do to ensure that your car is weather, as well as road in general, ready.
Check Your Tires. Bad traction is no good when roads are wet, slushy, or covered in snow. Take a penny to your driveway, hold it on its side with the president’s head facing the ground, and slide it into the tread of your tire. Is Lincoln’s head touching the rubber? If not, it is time to invest in a new set of tires before you head north this holiday season. This exercise shows that the tread is worn and far less likely to provide you with the traction that you might need.
See the Mechanic. Not only should you change your oil and check other fluid levels on your car, you should also have your vehicle inspected by a trained mechanic to ensure that everything is operating as it should. If your car breaks down on unfamiliar roads, in a snow storm, you could be left stranded. Be sure that you have your vehicle checked for any possible deficiencies and also consider services like AAA, which can help get you out of a nasty situation.
Properly Equip Your Car. While the mechanics “OK” is worth a great deal, even the best mechanics cannot predict unforeseen circumstances which could arise on your trip. It is a good idea when traveling into cold climates to carry a blanket, hats, gloves, and extra clothing in your car. This should be in addition to the emergency kit with flares, first aid supplies, a charged cell phone, spare tire, car jack, and plenty of water. You don’t want to be caught out in the cold unprepared.
Know Your Route. Whether you are fortunate enough to have a GPS, or you are printing directions from the computer, it is a good idea to have an old fashioned map on hand. Should your GPS lose signal, or detours be in place, you will want to have alternate routes mapped out. Furthermore, you don’t want to be fussing with technology while behind the wheel. It can distract you from what you need to be doing. High stress situations can lead to poor driving decisions, so be sure that you are properly equipped and have a concrete plan in place before you leave.
Always be careful on the road, especially when traveling in areas in which you are unfamiliar. If you are involved in an accident due to neglected roads or another driver’s negligence, you have the right to consult a personal injury attorney to help ensure the costs of repairs and medical expenses are covered.