Time to pack the ice scraper, blankets or sleeping bags, and tire chains (even if you have 4 wheel drive) when heading over mountain passes. An accident, heavy snowfall or an ice storm could leave you stopped beside the road for hours.
WSDOT Winter Driving - Emergency Car Kit recommendations
Winter travel can be tough your car, the driver and passengers, to prepare:
Check your tires and make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm and check tire pressure during cold weather. Remember, tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms.
Get a vehicle winter maintenance check-up. Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers. Most parts houses will help you install your new windshield wipers if you just ask.
Keep your fuel tank full — don’t let it fall below half a tank on winter trips.
Program your radio for traffic reports and emergency messages (for WSDOT radio: 530 and 1610 AM).
What to carry on winter trips:
Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle: flashlight, an extra phone charger, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots, first-aid kit.
Load your car with winter travel gear : tire chains, ice scraper/snow brush, jumper cables, road flares. A small shovel that folds up can come in handy in the event that you get stuck in the snow.
If you travel with a baby, pack extra formula. A family member on medication? Pack extra doses just in case. If you travel with your pets be sure to bring a water bowl, a water jug and extra food for them also. For your safety if you are traveling alone be sure to check in with someone on your travel route and expected arrival time.