Tips and Techniques for Driving in Alaska
September 1st, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Driving in Alaska can be difficult for novice and experienced drivers alike. If you drive defensively, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate any road challenges that come your way in The Last Frontier.
How to Prepare for Driving in Alaska
There are many things you can do to get ready to drive in Alaska, such as:
1. Put Together an Alaska Winter Car Emergency Kit
If you’re planning an Alaska road trip in winter, you need a car emergency kit. That way, you’ll be prepared for snowstorms or any other inclement weather that strikes at a moment’s notice.
Your Alaska winter car emergency kit should include:
- Flashlight and batteries
- Nonperishable food
- Snow shovel
- Jumper cables
In addition to these items, your Alaska winter car emergency kit should include a first aid kit that contains bandages, safety pins, disposable sterile gloves, a thermometer, and other medical essentials.
2. Find the Best Vehicle to Drive in Alaska
There is no such thing as a “perfect” car to drive in Alaska. Instead, you need to consider all of the car options at your disposal, so you can select a vehicle that complements your everyday living.
Some of the most popular choices for cars to drive in Alaska include:
- Sedan: Sedans are compact, which makes it easy to drive them around Anchorage and other major Alaskan cities. If you choose a sedan or another compact car, you should purchase a vehicle with front-wheel drive, which will improve your car’s traction on rough terrain. You should also invest in studded tires, which will help your car remain stable when you drive it on ice.
- Station Wagon: Station wagons are great choices for drivers who want ample space to travel with family and friends without having to worry about significant fuel costs. A station wagon may be less susceptible than a sedan to getting stuck in snow as well.
- SUV: SUVs offer four-wheel drive and other safety features that make them terrific options for navigating all types of Alaskan roads. Regardless of which SUV you choose, you should purchase studded tires for it.
- Truck: Trucks usually come equipped with four-wheel drive, so they are unlikely to get stuck in snow. They also offer greater towing capacity than many other vehicles, which makes trucks ideal for getting other cars unstuck from snow.
Explore your car options closely, and you can select one that falls in line with your budget and lifestyle and allows you to safely drive on Alaskan roads.
3. Determine the Best Time to Drive in Alaska
Typically, Alaskan roads are less busy in winter than other times of the year. At the same time, Alaska’s road conditions can be treacherous during winter. Comparatively, Alaska roads tend to be busiest from May to September — but there is still a chance that a sudden snow or hail storm can occur on roads during this time.
Alaskan road conditions vary based on the time of year, and you need to plan accordingly. For instance, studded tires are legal in Alaska from September 15 to May 1; if you plan to travel during this period, you should install studded tires on your car.
You should always check the weather report before you travel on Alaskan roads, too. If there is a risk of severe snow or freezing temperatures, you should delay your trip until the travel conditions improve.
Additional Tips and Techniques for Driving in Alaska
Along with preparing for driving in Alaska, there are various things you can do to safely travel on roads across The Last Frontier, such as:
- Be Patient. If you’re planning a long road trip, schedule breaks at least every few hours along the way. Also, do not drive more than eight to nine hours in a row.
- Prepare for Rest Stops. Rest stops sometimes are spaced out hundreds of miles away from one another. Thus, you should find out where rest stops are located before you drive and plan to stop at them whenever possible.
- Carry a GPS and a Map. Your car’s GPS can help you navigate Alaska’s roads, but it is good to have a backup plan. Therefore, bring a map, since your GPS could lose its signal if you’re travelling in a remote area of Alaska.
Finally, if you are involved in an accident while travelling on an Alaskan road, the team at Fix Auto Gambell can help. We are located near Downtown Anchorage and offer comprehensive car body, collision repair services designed to help you fix dents, dings, and other vehicle damage. To learn more or to book a service appointment, please contact us online or call us today at (907) 274-1078.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Gambell, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Anchorage area and surrounding communities.
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