If you are a traveling health professional, you know that winter can be a particularly challenging time of year to work, not just because of illness, but also because of travel conditions.

What can you do to stay safe on the road during the winter months? Here are a few ideas.

The first piece of advice may sound a bit obvious, but should not be overlooked. When traveling, make sure you know the route you will be taking to get to your destination. Then also do a little research to find out what the weather forecast is for your trip. The U.S. Department of Transportation operates a number of hotlines with information about road conditions. It would be a good idea to make a list of these numbers and check in occasionally.

You also should have a safety kit in your car for emergencies. The basics you need for the kit include cell phone, ice scraper and brush, blanket, flashlight, candle, matches, portable weather radio, can of lock de-icer, and cat litter. The litter is a good substance to help give your car traction over ice.

You also should check your tires to make sure they are in good shape and inflated properly. You especially need to keep an eye on the tire pressure because cold weather reduces it. The tread on your tires should be at least one-eighth of an inch deep. Good snow tires with lugs will handle adverse weather conditions better than all-weather tires. It also is a good idea to know how to attach snow chains to your tires should conditions warrant it.

You should learn what to do when your vehicle loses traction and starts to skid. Most people panic and jam on the brakes, which is exactly what you shouldn’t do. When you start to skid, you should steer the car in the direction you want to go, and keep your foot off the brake.

During longer trips, it’s always a good idea to take frequent rest stops, and this is especially true in winter. Driving during the winter is more stressful, and therefore more tiring, than summer driving. So, make sure you take a break at least once every hour.

Finally, you need to drive more slowly in the winter, at least 50 percent slower in bad weather conditions. But don’t slow down too much. Your car still needs to have the momentum to make it up and down grades that are covered with snow.

Are you a veteran medical traveler during winter? Do you have any winter driving tips you could pass along?

Whether you want to travel to U.S. cities near ski slopes, or you’d prefer to hit the beaches of Florida or southern California in winter, if you’re an experienced RN, PT, OT, speech therapist, pharmacist or other allied health professional with an itch to see the country, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing today.