The winter season brings with it a multitude of challenges, but arguably the worst among the quandaries that rear its ugly head is traveling in poor road conditions. Ice, chilly winds, and mountains of snow present all types of challenges to travelers, regardless of the mode of transport they undertake. With this in mind, here is a compilation of our top 10 tips for traveling in extreme winters while you are in a new country:
#1 – Plan alternate routes in advance
For those who find themselves driving in the winter, having at least two or three alternative routes is a must for a hassle free winter travel trip. Roads can be shut for multiple reasons, or play host to a build-up of traffic causing a considerable delay in your travel time. Gadgets like “Sat Navs” are able to calculate alternative routes in matter of seconds; however, these should be used as aids rather than the driver becoming overly reliant on technology. Preparing yourself in advance with more than one route handy is always a better idea to not get stuck for an upcoming tour or a flight.
#2 – Keep a De-Icer handy
A de-icer is a simple tool to think of, but certainly an essential one in icy conditions. All car owners should ensure that they have a can of de-icer in their vehicle at all times to clear away the ice that has built up overnight or throughout the day.
#3 – Check for other basic precautions
As important as pre-planning alternative routes, other basic precautions should also be considered in advance for easy winter travel. Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition, such as double-checking tyre pressure, fuel level and headlights. Traveling to extremely cold countries like Iceland require speciality winter tires for instance. If any of these are not satisfactory then your vehicle can quite easily become a potential hazard on icy roads.
#4 – Traveling together
The roads can become dangerous due to adverse conditions and the number of vehicles causing more traffic certainly doesn’t help much either. In such situations, car-pooling reduces how many vehicles are on the road, making travel slightly easier and safer. Take turns to drive if you are sharing a car.
#5 – Warm clothing
No matter what mode of transport you take during a crazy winter day, make sure you bring enough warm clothing with you. It is also wise to take along a bag with a change of clothes in case what you are wearing becomes snow-wet – because the last thing you want is to be stuck outside in the cold wearing wet clothes.
#6 – Follow Public Transport providers on social media
In 2018, we have never been better connected with services than we are in the present day. Information is available at the touch of a fingertip, and it would be foolish not to make use of these opportunities. Make sure to follow your public transport providers on social media, as any updates such as delays and/or cancellations are sure to be broadcasted as soon as possible. Just by looking on Twitter, you could save yourself a lot of time.
#7 – Pack something to munch on
Just in case you become stuck, make sure to pack an assortment of snacks. Sandwiches, protein bars, crisps and nibbles are always worth packing on longer trips. If you find yourself experiencing a delay, you will be thankful for the extra calories in chilly weather conditions.
# 8 – Spending the night in your car
What happens if your car becomes stuck on the icy roads and you have no other way of getting home? You may find yourself having to spend the night in your vehicle which, obviously, would not be one’s first choice of accommodation. If you do have to spend the night in your car, make sure to leave the overhead light on. This allows anyone passing by who could help to clearly see you.
#9 – Download weather apps
In the same way that following public transport providers is a must on social media, downloading and using weather apps on a smartphone is smart too. Having a weather report handy can help you to plan ahead in time and prepare for potentially coarse conditions.
#10 – Stay on the main roads
Lastly, while driving during a winter storm – always try to keep to the main roads rather than taking back roads or shortcuts. The reason being, that main roads are more likely to have been gritted, thus being much safer to drive on that untreated backroads, where icy roads are far likelier.