Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wintry Weather Travel Safety

Unless you plan on hitting the slopes or are looking forward to making snow angels winter most likely isn't your favorite season. With that being said, whether the weather be sleet, snow, rain or shine, many travelers take to the road during the holiday season.

Traveling during the winter months, especially driving, the number of miles and the average miles-per-gallon isn't the main concern... it's safety. Snow and ice can create hazardous conditions on the road but we have some tips that will help you prepare for wintry driving conditions and ways to handle them in the middle of a storm.

First thing first - keep a winter-travel kit in the vehicle. The kit doesn't have to be fancy but be sure to have the essentials. Bring some extra clothing - weather-resistant pants, extra coat, snow boots, as well as some extra gloves and hats. These will help you keep warm if you break down, and allows for a change of clothes to keep you dry. Items that may come in handy include: a blanket, jumper cables, a flashlight (don't forget extra batteries), windshield scraper, and maybe some de-icer. It wouldn't hurt to throw in a couple edible items like granola or candy bars for sustenance either.

Before you head out on the road, it is a good idea to also have your vehicle checked over, especially the tires. Balding tires are never good news, especially on ice-covered roads. Often people carry a bag of kitty litter to toss on the ground for traction to help out when your car gets hung up on a slippery spot.

Be sure to let someone know which travel route you plan on taking. That way, if you happen to get stranded in your car (with no cell phone service) people will know where to look for you. A big question people often ask: Is it okay to run your car for heat while stranded at the side of a road? The answer is yes, however. Make sure that the exhaust pipe is not covered by snow. Once it's clear for you to have you car running, be sure the car is completely started -- it will take longer for you to run out of gas than to drain a car battery.

Finally, before you depart, check out the weather forecast. Assess the situation before heading out for the horizon. Visit for up-to-date road conditions or dial 5-1-1 on a telephone.

And don't forget that Spearfish is a travel destination that is open year-round! For more information on winter activities in the Spearfish area visit

Brian Gebhart
Visit Spearfish, Inc.