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This is one of the most highly travelled times of the year. With the celebration of holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years, we are annually drawn from wherever we are to congregate with family and friends. While it’s a wonderful sentiment, depending on where you live, it can be quite inconvenient at times. Snow and ice cover the roads, traffic is bumper to bumper, and even occasional power outages wreak havoc on traffic signals and streetlights.

Winter travel can be tough. But if you know what to watch out for ahead of time, you can do your best to avoid it. Here are some things you can do to stay safe when it comes to winter travel.

  • Avoid driving at night. Wintry roads are already treacherous during the day, but they can be downright deadly with the decreased visibility of nightfall. Plan your trip accordingly, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, fully accounting for the possibility of any unexpected stops.
  • Check the weather before leaving. Flights, trains, and other means of transportation can be cancelled or rescheduled, but you and your passengers only have one life to live. Your safety must take priority. If the weather forecast is calling for icy precipitation of any kind, don’t take any unnecessary risks. Wait it out and leave after the storm has passed.
  • If you must drive through the rain and snow, or you find yourself caught in the middle of a sudden storm, practice careful driving techniques. Drive well below the speed limit and turn your hazard lights on for increased visibility to those around you. If driving is too dangerous and visibility is low, pull to the side of the road and wait it out.
  • Pack your car with any supplies you may need in case of emergency. Food, water, blankets, a first aid kit, and other tools, including a pocket knife, matches, flashlight, map, and compass. The likelihood that you’ll need all these supplies is slim, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Traveling in the winter may be difficult, but the extra precautions will be worth it in the end. By saving your life and the lives of your passengers, you’re ensuring that the holiday season remains a joyful time for everyone. Stay safe out there, and enjoy the time spent with your friends, families, and neighbors as people brave the weather to come together.