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Tips for road trips in rough weather

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Make it there safely

So it's time for that long-awaited road trip, but the forecast isn't looking good. If you can't cancel or postpone, make sure you — and your car — are ready to deal with whatever Mother Nature sends your way.

Checking tire pressure

Check your tires

Your tires take the brunt of the bad weather, so make sure they're in good shape before you hit the road. Start out by making sure your car is equipped with quality tires like Blizzak tires from Bridgestone. They're specially engineered for higher performance in snowy and icy conditions.

Selim Hammoud, director of product safety at Nissan, offers these additional tips for getting your tires road ready.

Test your treads: Worn-down tires are extremely dangerous in rainy driving conditions. To avoid a potentially catastrophic event, always make sure your tires can pass the "Quarter Test." If George Washington's head is completely visible (no portion covered by the tire) when the coin is inserted into the tread, it's time to consider replacing your tires.

Check tire pressure: It's hard to tell whether radial tires are properly inflated just by looking at them, so check them with a pressure gauge. Make sure you check the pressure in your spare tire, too — it won't be much help if it's flat!

Adjust for extra load: "Whether you are loading up on passengers or hauling those tailgate essentials, you may need to increase your tire pressure to accommodate that extra weight," says Hammoud.

Check the rest of your car

Don't just stop at the tires! The rest of your car needs some extra attention, too. According to the safe-driving experts at State Farm, you need to make sure these items are all in good working order before you head off into treacherous conditions:

  • Hoses and fan belts
  • Battery
  • Spark plugs
  • Air, fuel and emission filters
  • Spare tire and jack
  • Antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid levels

Pack emergency supplies

Bad weather has a way of leaving you stranded. Make sure you have what you need to get back on the road and to keep you safe until you can. The safe-driving experts at State Farm say these are the things you need to pack:

  • Small folding shovel
  • Basic tool kit
  • Tow and tire chains
  • Bag of road salt or cat litter
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Portable cellphone charger
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Warning flares
  • Nonperishable food and water
  • Blankets
  • Wooden matches
  • Compass

More on driving safety

Tips for driving in the rain
Tips for driving in the snow
Tips for driving on ice

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