Back on the Chain Gang: Be Prepared for Winter Driving

January 12th, 2012 | Posted by Pacrec in More! - (Comments Off on Back on the Chain Gang: Be Prepared for Winter Driving)
installing tire chains

Back on the chain gang!

So the family all got new snowshoes for Christmas and you can’t wait to get up to the mountain and try them out, right? Or maybe you’re just going for a day of tubing on the bunny slope. Or you could be saying to heck with winter altogether and are heading out of the frigid north to the sunny south until things thaw out.

Well whatever winter adventure or expedition you have planned, if it involves winter driving you need to be prepared for the worst. Winter driving can be treacherous, hazardous, and heck, downright scary (The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Yikes!). Weather conditions can change very quickly. But with proper preparation (the old ounce of prevention) you can greatly reduce the risks of a winter driving mishap.

First of all, if you can avoid driving in bad weather, well then… avoid driving in it! Check local, regional and even national weather reports beforehand to check for possible winter storms on the agenda. But if you still insist on traveling under sketchy conditions, make sure your vehicle is ready for the worst that Ma Nature can hurl at it. Your vehicle’s ignition, battery, headlights and taillights, brakes, wiper blades, fuel and exhaust systems, heater/defroster and your anti-freeze level (whew!) need to be at the top of their game. And your tires. Especially your tires. Many states require traction tires, or that chains be carried in the vehicle when traveling through mountain passes and at higher snow-zone elevations.

And don’t forget an emergency safety kit in case you’re stalled or stranded in inclement conditions. In addition to the aforementioned tire chains, your grocery list should include blankets and warm clothes, flares, shovel and scraper, flashlight and batteries, candles, lighter or matches, first aid kit, booster cables, non-perishable food and plenty of water.

old man winter photo

Old Man Winter

Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff. Along with all your luggage and/or winter sports gear things can get pretty tight in your vehicle. That’s where the extra cargo space of a  StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier can come to the rescue. With up to 16 cubic feet of storage space and a 200 lb. capacity, it has plenty of room for your chains, blankets, food and other safety equipment, as well as all your winter sports gear. Sliding quickly and securely into your vehicle’s receiver hitch, it provides easy ground level access to all your gear. (Do you really want to be climbing up to a roof-top carrier in a blizzard?)

So have fun and enjoy the snow, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, or just traveling to a warmer climate. Just make sure you’ve got your winter driving gloves on in case you have to duke it out with Old Man Winter.

 

Hitting the Thanksgiving Travel Trail

November 21st, 2011 | Posted by Pacrec in More! - (Comments Off on Hitting the Thanksgiving Travel Trail)

Stowaway cargo travelWell, the economy may be down, but it seems that Thanksgiving travel this year is going to be up.

AAA is predicting that 42.5 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving week this year, up 4% from last year. And with airfares up 20 percent (plus all those pesky fees), more stringent security, cancelled, delayed and overbooked flights, 38.2 million of those Americans will be driving.  That’s a lot of Buicks on the blacktop.

Whether you view it as a welcome tradition or guilt-laden obligation, the Thanksgiving road trip is an American classic. Over the river and all that. But just because you’re not dealing with the insanity of an airport doesn’t make driving a piece of cake (or pumpkin pie). Here are a few tips to take some of the kinks out of that long and winding road.

Let’s face it there’s going to be traffic. So if possible try to avoid the peak rush hours, like Wednesday afternoon and evening. If you can leave a day or two early, and if that’s not too much family face time for you, go for it. If you don’t have too long of a drive ahead of you, get up early and leave on Thanksgiving morning. The traffic is usually light and it can make for a mellow drive.

Or try an alternate route, like a state or county road. It may take a little longer, but the scenery is better and you’ll probably find it much less stressful than being on the Interstate, which can unknowingly take it’s toll tension-wise. This is also a good back-up plan in case of freeway wrecks and closures.

Make sure everyone is comfortable. Too many people and possessions crammed in a small space can cause not only physical discomfort but emotional trauma as well with all the whining and complaining. A good way to alleviate crowding is with the addition of a cargo carrier, like the StowAway MAX Hitch Cargo Carrier. With 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 lbs of gear capacity, it comes complete with taillights, side reflectors, lock and weep holes on a swingaway or fixed frame.

Make sure you take frequent rest breaks. The act of just walking a little bit, even if it’s just to use the facilities or stretch out will significantly reduce stiffness in muscles and joints, especially in the “chronologically gifted”. And it helps keep those nasty blood clots at bay.

So now you’re ready. Get packed, load up and head out. Join that other 38.2 of your fellow Thanksgiving travelers and have a fun, and most importantly, safe trip.