Many students at Walla Walla University are headed home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to fly. Otherwise, buckle up, because your drive could be as close as College Place or several hours away. Here are some tips on what to bring to ensure a safer drive home.
- Spare oil: I always carry one quart of spare oil in my car just in case it begins to run low. Check your oil at each fuel stop by removing the dipstick, cleaning it off, inserting it again, and then taking it out to inspect the oil level. Each dipstick is different, so please check your owner’s manual to read the oil level properly.
- Gloves and warm clothing: If you get stranded on the side of the road it’s helpful to have a good pair of gloves and warm clothes while you’re waiting for help. I also wear a work jacket, shirt, and jeans when I’m driving home so I don’t have to worry about getting my nice clothes muddy. Warm, waterproof boots are helpful to have when you need to exit the vehicle.
- Wiper blades and fluid: If your windshield wipers aren’t working well, replace them before you leave. If you don’t know how to replace them, ask a friend. It’s one of the easiest things you can fix on your car. Be sure to have your windshield wiper reservoir full of fluid.
- Shovel: If you get stuck, having a shovel is helpful to dig your car out. It’s much harder to use your hands, but I hope you at least have gloves!
- Tools: Bring a flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, and a blanket for worst-case scenarios.
- Ice scraper/brush: This is one of the cheapest and best tools for your vehicle. It enables you to brush off snow from your roof and hood, as well as scrape ice from your windshield and windows. Be sure to brush off your hood and roof because the snow can fall off and obscure your view, as well as the view of the driver behind you.
- Check your tires: Be sure your tires are at the correct air pressure and that they have plenty of tread. If you’re unsure of how much tread you need, place a penny with Lincoln’s head facing into the tread. If you can see the top of his head, it is time to replace your tires.
- Things that keep you awake: I bring sunflower seeds to chew and spit in a cup. Bring a good audiobook, a caffeinated drink, excellent music, and, most importantly, don’t forget to bring a good friend or sibling for the drive; they pass the time much faster!
- Finally, check out https://takewinterbystorm.org/ for more great tips. Be safe and have a great drive!