The holiday season is here and many of us are headed out on road trips to see family and friends. From the Okanagan this often means driving on high mountain passes in winter conditions. This guide will help you arrive at your destination warm, safe and relaxed.
There are some key steps to take to ensure your winter road trip goes smoothly. It starts with packing well, being prepared and making sure your vehicle is in the right condition for the trip.
Be Prepared Before you Leave
Well in advance of your trip, have your vehicle serviced an inspected by a reliable and reputable auto service shop like Paragon Motors in Kelowna. They will ensure that all of your key systems are in solid working order. You want to check your ignition system, brakes, fluids, belts, heater and cooling system, your battery and lights. In addition, have them inspect your wiper blades and make sure you have blades appropriate for winter conditions. Knowing that all of your systems are in top shape, and that fluids are topped up will make for a worry free drive.
The right tires are essential for safety in winter. It is mandatory to have winter tires on your vehicle for many BC highways from October until March. Have the shop check the tread depth and pressure of your tires and confirm that they are appropriate for the conditions. If your tires need replacing do so now – you do not want to be stranded on a mountain pass because of the wrong tires. You also don’t want to be stranded because of a flat tire – check that you have a properly inflated spare and know how to use your jack.
Pack the Right Equipment
You will have packed your clothes and gifts, but also take the time to pack a survival kit that can make your trip a lot more safe and comfortable. Bring along these items, or keep them in your vehicle all winter:
- Your cell phone (fully charged and with a car charger)
- Window scrapers and brushes
- A folding shovel
- Booster cables
- A tow rope
- Extra blankets
- Sand or cat litter for traction
- Extra winter clothing (hats, mitts, jacket)
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- Drinking water
- Extra food, especially high energy items. Having an extra stock of good quality energy bars, fruit or sandwiches with you is important if you are stranded for a long period and can make road closures or other delays more pleasant
- Lock De-icer
Having these items in your vehicle can help get you out of trouble, keep you warm if you are stranded and allow you to help others along your way.
Know the Roads that you are Travelling
If you are travelling an unfamiliar route, look it up using a map software like google in advance and plan out the best route. Just before you leave, check www.drivebc.ca for current road conditions, information on road closures and up to date weather conditions. For most BC highways they have cameras online so that you can see the road conditions before you leave.
Drive Safely and Arrive in Comfort
Following these steps will have you well-prepared for any unforeseen issues that might arise on your trip. Leave in plenty of time, drive to the conditions and arrive at your destination warm, safe and relaxed.
For any advice on preparing your vehicle for winter driving, or for a full inspection before you head out, call Paragon Motors in Kelowna. We will ensure that your vehicle is as ready as you are for the holidays!