Traveling and working in cold-weather areas presents its own set of unique challenges. Preparing yourself, your tools, and your transportation can be the difference between a miserable winter and a successful one.

Transportation in the winter months can cause a lot of issues and delays. Weather and even other drivers can be unpredictable. We know we can’t prepare for every possible scenario, but being prepared will always come in handy.

Preparation and safety on the way to a project are just as important as safety while working. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ways to be safe and prepared to drive to and from the project site.

Here are four ways you can be prepared to drive in the cold.

  1. Plan ahead for your commute.
  2. Preparing your vehicle.
  3. Safety precautions while driving.
  4. Preparing the inside of your vehicle.

Plan Ahead Daily for Your Commute

Travel times are unpredictable during cold weather months. Delays can be caused by all kinds of unexpected events. Here are some ways to plan ahead for your commute:

  • Use a navigation app like Google Maps or Waze to get real-time traffic updates and find alternative routes.
  • Be cautious of any school zones you may drive through. Not only are speeds reduced, but you’ll also encounter traffic with many parents dropping off kids. 
  • If possible, carpool with others going to the same job.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Cold Weather Commutes

It’s obvious, but your vehicle is critical for getting you to and from the job site. There are many things you can do to take caution and improve your chances of arriving safely.

  • Fuel up frequently. It is recommended to keep your tank above half full.
  • Top off your windshield wiper fluid every two weeks.
  • Consider getting winter tires or higher-quality tires.
  • If you haven’t done so recently, check every exterior light to ensure they are working.
  • Always remove all snow and ice from windshields, side mirrors, headlights, and tail lights before you begin driving the vehicle.
  • Purchase a Roadside Emergency Tool for your vehicle 

Safety Precautions While Driving

Once you’ve planned ahead for your commute and prepared your vehicle for optimal cold weather operation, you can focus on safety tips while on the road. Here are a few things to keep in mind on the roads:

  • Slow down and read the traffic around you. Keeping your “head on a swivel” will help you anticipate slowdowns and actions of other drivers.
  • Increase your distance from the car in front of you while driving.
  • Remember your blinker.
  • Smaller and slower driving movement can reduce your chance of skidding, sliding, and disorienting your vehicle.
  • You can’t always see ice. Drive at safe speeds to best navigate unseen conditions. Bridges and overpasses freeze first

Preparing the Inside of Your Vehicle

Preparing the inside of your vehicle for cold weather can be just as important as anything else. Unfortunate situations could occur where you are sometimes stranded in your vehicle. Whether your vehicle stops operating or the weather plays a role in causing it from being operable, you’ll want to be prepared.  

The best way to do this is to create a car kit. Here are some suggestions for items to include in your kit:

  • Warm clothing such as gloves, a hat, scarf and socks
  • A change of clothes
  • Blankets
  • Ice scraper and snow brush combo
  • Flashlight with extra batteries. Or go one step further with a hand-crank flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap). 
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman multi-tool or a Swiss Army knife)
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles
  • Hand Warmers (electric or traditional)
  • Food such as granola bars or non-perishable food items. Rotate them every few months.

Hopefully, there are a few things listed you may not have considered before or that you need to check on again.

What else would you add to this list of staying prepared to travel in the cold?