Any long trip has the potential to be dangerous over the winter months. Inclement weather, poor visibility, shorter daylight hours, and holiday traffic congestion can all lead to disastrous accidents for unwary drivers. Arizona is a popular destination during the winter months, thanks to the state’s warm climate and clear skies, and many people may visit their families in Arizona for the winter holidays. Arizona residents may also trek outside the state over the winter. All drivers should know some basic safety tips for safe winter driving.
Safety Tips For Traveling Arizonans
If you plan to leave Arizona over the winter it’s crucial to prepare and know a few tips for long drives. Arizona typically has some of the highest average temperatures year-round in the United States, so unless you plan to visit another Southern state like Florida or Texas, it’s best to prepare for colder weather.
Some Arizona cars may not drive as smoothly in colder temperatures, and it may be necessary to check your vehicle’s oil and fluids before any holiday road trip. Some cars may need fuel additives to prevent water accumulation in fuel lines, while others may need to replace their coolant or other vehicle fluids. Proper vehicle maintenance* should be at the very top of any road trip checklist.
Visiting The East Coast Or Northern U.S.
If you plan to visit a colder region over the winter, be sure to dress appropriately for the drive. During the first few hours of your trip north the temperature may start dropping more quickly than you expect. Pack accordingly for the area you plan to visit and make sure you have directions before leaving. There are countless GPS devices, smartphone navigation apps, and other tools available for finding your way. Assign one of your passengers as the navigator so you can focus on driving.
Be sure to bring an emergency road kit with flares and warning cones, and check the quality of your spare tire before hitting the road. You may also want to bring a brush and/or ice scraper to use during your visit to the colder states.
Traveling To Canada
If you plan to visit Canada you will certainly need to prepare for cold temperatures. Canada experiences generally low temperatures throughout the year, so Arizonans may be in for a shock after living under the harsh Southwestern sun. Any drivers leaving the U.S. should also prepare their passports and other necessary travel documents well in advance of their trips.
Tips For Visiting Arizona In The Winter
Drivers from across the country visiting Arizona for the winter can look forward to warm temperatures, clear weather, and lots of fun in the sun. No matter where you’re starting your Arizona road trip, be sure that your vehicle is ready to handle hot weather. Have your mechanic check your tire quality, vehicle fluids, and airflow systems to make sure the hot and dry climate doesn’t stifle vehicle performance. Damaged tires can also blow out on hot road surfaces, especially at higher speeds on the highway.
Like any other road trip, the best travel tips for visiting Arizona are all about preparation. If you plan to drive alone, make sure you give yourself adequate time to rest before each driving session and avoid eating behind the wheel and other distractions.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Even experienced drivers can cause serious accidents from distracted driving**. Some of the most common types of distracted driving that can cause serious accidents include:
- Eating. Even using just one hand to eat or drink while driving can have disastrous consequences.
- Talking and passenger distractions. Children can become restless during long road trips, so make sure kids have games or books or movies to keep them occupied in the car if possible. Avoid serious conversations or topics that may cause an argument on the road. If a driver’s temper flares, he or she may look away from the road at the worst possible moment.
- Texting and cell phone use. By far the most dangerous form of distracted driving is texting behind the wheel. Texting requires you to look at the screen and away from the road and use your hands to type a message instead of operating the vehicle. Have a passenger handle your phone or simply leave it on silent mode while driving.
A distracted driving accident can easily ruin an Arizona road trip and the entire holiday season, so be sure to remove distractions and stay focused at all times behind the wheel.
Possible Highlights Of Your Winter Arizona Trip
Even if you don’t have family in Arizona, there are countless sights and places to visit that make Arizona a fantastic winter road trip destination. Make a road trip checklist of destinations you’d like to see like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, or Sedona. No matter where you go in Arizona, anyone who hates the cold will enjoy the relief from winter temperatures in Arizona’s warm and dry climate.
Special Tips For Pet Owners Traveling This Winter
Pet owners have special considerations to make for their dogs, cats, and other furry friends who may travel with the family for an Arizona road trip. It is never wise to allow any pet to sit unrestrained in the cabin of a vehicle. Small dogs and cats may become excited and interfere with the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle. Find an appropriately-sized crate or kennel for your pet so it can travel safely. If an accident happens, a small pet will stand a much better chance of survival in a secure crate rather than flying through the cabin of the vehicle.
Long road trips can be taxing, so make sure you build a realistic itinerary if you plan to visit Arizona from far away or are heading far outside of the state this winter. Vehicle maintenance should always be the first item on any road trip checklist regardless of the destination, but it’s also essential to prepare for the weather at your destination and variable driving conditions.