Safety Tips for Winter Road Travel


If you’re in a part of the world where it’s winter right now (Toronto is snow free currently but I’m sure it won’t remain like this for much longer!) and are planning to drive to visit family and friends in the upcoming months, make sure your car is ready for the snow.

Tips for Safe Winter Road Travel:

1. Winterize Your Car

If you haven’t replaced your car battery in years (or ever), do so soon. Make sure your mechanic tests your car battery before heading out on a long road trip.

Check fluid levels such as winter motor oil, radiator coolant, transmission oil etc.

Make sure all head and tail lights are functioning properly and windshield wipers work. Clear visibility allows for safer driving during the winter months. It is very unsafe if either the lights or windshield wipers are malfunctioning.

2. Get Your Tires Checked

Check tire air pressure and tread depth. All tires have tread wear indicators so when the tread is flush with the tread wear indicators, the tire must be replaced. Consider winter tires if you live in a region that gets a lot of snow. They provide better traction, greater control and stability.

3. Pack an Instant Charger for your Phone or Consider an In Car Phone Service

Duracell Instant USB ChargerDuracell makes an instant portable charger for USB phones. If your phone battery dies during a road trip or something happens to your car while on the road, a small instant charger like this will allow you to contact someone for help.

If your family is planning to travel to remote areas this winter where phone coverage is patchy, consider an in car telephone service like On-Star.

4. Make an Emergency and First Aid Kit

Include a shovel, ice scraper, blankets, flashlights, warning devices (flares), jumper cables, sand or kitty litter, bandages, rubbing alcohol, extra gloves and hats, hand/feet warmer pads, lighter and candles, and non perishable food.

If you don’t have time to put together an emergency kit, you can purchase one from any big box store for $30-40. Definitely a worthwhile investment that you can restock each winter. If you are travelling with babies or infants, keep a small can of formula, food, diapers and wipes in the car too.

Remember to bring all prescription medication you will need (as well as a bit extra) in case your travel is delayed by bad weather.

5. If you are travelling by car, let someone who is not travelling with you know your itinerary and route.

This is important if you’ll be driving in or through rural areas. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination and consider delaying your trip in bad weather.


Are you ready for winter driving? Do you have any other tips for families to stay safe this winter while on the road?

*Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.


  1. Tonya @ The Traveling Praters says

    Great tips! It’s actually snowing here in Ohio today- something I am not looking forward to at all. :(

    One thing that we do now is to always, always check the forecast of where we’re traveling and the area that we’ll be passing through in route to our destination. A couple years ago, we were driving to Ohio from Alabama and ran into a major ice storm. We had no idea how bad it even was until we began to see many cars off the side of the road. We traveled on until the interstate came to a stop. Fortunately for us, there was a lone hotel in site that accepted pets ( we were traveling with our dog at the time). We got one of the last rooms, otherwise we would have spent the night in the car because nothing else was around.
    Tonya @ The Traveling Praters recently posted..My Guest Posts are Popping up at I See Kissimmee!My Profile

  2. says

    That’s a great tip Tonya – to check the forecast of the area you’re passing through (I only check the destination). Glad to hear things worked out and you were able to get a room at a pet friendly hotel in the middle of an ice storm.

    • says

      Brandi, this is actually a great tip! My dad says the exact same thing but I never remember and used to drive him nuts when I was living at home using their cars and letting the gas go to 1/4 tank before filling up. Better to be safe than sorry.

  3. says

    We travel 11 hours to my inlaws a few times a year, these are great tips. We always have a pay as you go phone for the US so we can call when we cross the border. That way they have somewhat of a timeline (traveling with infants seems to take longer… hahaha).

    Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      That is a great tip too about the type of phone to bring if travelling to the US as roaming charges are expensive with Canadian carriers. It’s so true – any type of travel with young children (air or road) takes a lot more time. 1.5 – 2 times more than travelling without them.

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