Winter often means a snowy wonderland. For most, that means sipping hot chocolate and wondering who will put the next log in the fire. For people planning to move, it means wondering how exactly they're going to cross the country in one piece. Here are some tips to make you safer and, hopefully, give you some peace of mind.
1) Fill up the tank, frequently
You'll want to start your move on a positive note. Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas before you put the first box in the truck. Once you hit the road, however, it's important that you keep filling up the tank well before you reach empty. Running out of gas on the highway in a snow storm with a moving truck can be the stuff of nightmares, so save yourself the terror and fill up once you reach half a tank, or a quarter of a tank at the absolute least. If you get stranded, you'll also want to have enough gas to keep the car - and the heat - running.
Keeping your tank filled more than halfway isn't just about being prepared. According to Penske, if you have any less gas, water condensation could cause your fuel lines to freeze. Then you'd be in really big trouble.
2) Pack an emergency kit
Before moving, make sure you're prepared for anything that comes your way. Make sure you have an ice scraper and a snow brush to clear your windshield of precipitation. Even if it doesn't snow, ice can form on the glass if temperatures are warm during the day and freezing overnight. You will also want a box of rock salt, a shovel, kitty litter or two mats and tire chains. The last thing you want is to get stuck in a snow bank without the tools to get yourself out. Have a shovel to dig out your tires, should you end up in a snowbank or it snows overnight. If your car gets stuck, you can put mats underneath the back tires to help give them traction. Kitty litter is a good substitute for the mats, and less of a hassle to pull out. Tire chains will also help provide traction on snowy roads.
Your emergency kit should also include things such as extra food, water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, blankets and warm clothes. Make sure all of these things are within easy reach.
3) Plan your route
You'll want to keep an eye on the weather. If there's a snow storm crossing your path, consider leaving well in advance to get ahead of it. If you're crossing the country, try planning a different route to avoid it. Otherwise, you may want to postpone the move until weather conditions are more favorable. The weight and dimensions of a moving truck already make it more dangerous than driving most cars even if it's a sunny day. That danger becomes much greater in bad weather, especially if you're not used to driving a truck or in icy conditions. Even if there isn't a storm predicted, you will still need to be careful of ice on the roads.
Also, keep in mind that some states do a better job of maintaining their roads in bad weather than others. Massachusetts is used to extreme winter weather - it salts and plows immediately and regularly. Virginia, however, only gets snow sparingly, so it doesn't have the same infrastructure to handle adverse conditions. Sometimes that means roads are not fully plowed or sufficiently slated.