Avoid Accidents on Alaska Highways this Winter

Driving in Alaska comes with its own share of surprises and quirks – particularly throughout the winter. You have all the usual concerns: ice, snow, darker days, longer nights, obscured vision, and reckless drivers. But on top of this, you’ll want to look out for moose and other wildlife while driving your Alaska car and van rentals.

None of this is to scare you. Driving in this state is merely unique. And if you’re well prepared, you’ll find that driving your Alaska car and van rentals can be quite enjoyable. After all, we have some of the most beautiful scenery in the nation. There are ways to keep yourself safe and our wildlife safe.

In 2013 it was estimated that as many as 700 to 800 moose are reported to die a year in Alaska from collisions with motor vehicles, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. While not all moose die from collisions, its more likely that they will be injured than you will – particularly with the increasingly advanced safety systems in today’s cars.

Many attempts have been made in recent decades to reduce the risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions, particularly in December and January where the risk is greater. However, what precautions the government enacts are quite out of your hands. What you can control, though, are your own precautionary techniques to avoid hitting moose, elk, and deer in your Alaska car and van rentals.

High beams

While seeing moose can be difficult when they’re on the shoulder of the road, or in dark or stormy conditions, using high beams can help increase your chances of seeing the moose in time to stop. If the road isn’t busy – which is likely isn’t if moose are brave enough to cross – and there’s no one coming at you, use your high beams. Low beams won’t offer you the distance you need. Avoid distractions, and scan both the shoulders and center of the road regularly.

Slow your Alaska car and van rentals down

Given that it winter, you’ll likely be driving a little slower as it is. Don’t let a quiet, isolated road trick you into thinking you can drive a little faster. Keep your speed slow to increase your braking time in case you see a moose, deer, or elk.

Remember also that the faster you’re going, the more likely you are to harm the animal. Even in the unfortunate instance that you do collide, the slower the speed, the less likely you are to destroy your vehicle and kill the animal.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that speeding up with scare the moose into moving. It won’t, and you’ll increase odds of casualties.

Be alert, especially around forested areas

Moose, deer, and elk are more likely to cross the road in forested areas of the highway. It’s a good idea to slow down a little more, and be extra alert in areas where forests are largest. Be particularly mindful of the shoulders of the road. Be prepared to brake slowly, and avoid distractions in these regions. Make sure the kids have something to entertain them, the pets are in the backseat, the radio is low, and your high beams on to increase your vision.

Dawn and dusk are popular times

Though you’ll still see moose throughout the day and at night, the more likely times are dawn and dusk. Between 4 and 6 am, and 6 and 11 pm, be especially alert. Keep an eye out for animals and watch the shoulders.

Honking helps

When you’re slowing down for a moose, give your horn a little honk. Sometimes this will scare the moose, deer, or elk away from the road. Not always, though. At the very least, it will alert the animal to your presence, which could benefit both of you.

Keep an eye out for babies

Where there’s a mother, there are babies. If you see a female moose (without antlers), watch out for her calves. The chances are that if she’s crossing, they’re following – even if they aren’t following closely. So just because she’s crossed don’t speed up again. Stay still for a few minutes and watch the shoulders to make sure there aren’t more coming.

Start your trip off on a safe note. Our Alaska car and van rentals will ensure you get to all of your holiday parties in style and with reliability. Reserve your vehicle from Avis today to stay safe this winter.

Boost the Fuel Economy of Your Alaska Winter Car Rentals

It’s no secret that driving in the winter comes with its complications. Icy roads, snow, flurries, darker days, cautious (and not cautious enough!) drivers, and holiday stress combine to produce an uncomfortable experience. On top of that, fuel economy worsens as the temperatures do.

There are a lot of reasons why fuel efficiency drops in winter but not every knows the ways to prevent it. While you won’t be able to recapture the fuel economy of summer in the snowy months, we have a few tips to help you get the most of a tank in your Alaska winter car rentals.

Fortunately, because you’re using Alaska winter car rentals, you won’t have to worry about the major work that goes into fuel economy, such as car maintenance, excess weight, and car quality. We’ve got that covered for you.

What you can do to contribute to those major aspects of fuel economy is pack light. When you’re driving around town or off on a day trip, pack as little into the car as possible. Now’s not the time to have extra, unneeded luggage in the trunk that hasn’t made it into the cabin yet. Unload hunting and fishing equipment, and holiday gifts the minute you’re done using them. The less weight in your Alaska winter car rentals, the less heavily your engine will have to work. Remove any skis or snowboards from the top of your car when not in use. Full roof racks reduce aerodynamics exponentially, therefore also reducing fuel economy.

Unlead your foot

Most drivers know that the faster you go, the more fuel you’re using. People who speed often have much lower fuel economies than those who maintain the speed limit. However, did you also realize that stomping your foot on the accelerator – regardless of you speed – will reduce your fuel economy?

The best way to accelerate is slow and steady. Gradually apply slight pressure to your pedal until your Alaska winter car rentals gets up to speed. This will have the added bonus of keeping you safe on icy roads and helping you avoid aggressive driving. Similarly, braking at a gradual pace will also help increase fuel economy. And after all, you may find you won’t have to brake as often when you can avoid collision and missed turns simply by going the speed limit.

Remember, though, that cruise control is not advised. While it certainly helps maintain a proper speed, cruise control will reduce your reaction time to unexpected obstacles on wintry roads.

Avoid unnecessary idling in your Alaska winter car rentals

This seems to be a “no-brainer” but you’d be surprised at how often unnecessary idling occurs when it may seem necessary. In the morning when you’re warming your car and using defrosters, you’re using unnecessary fuel. It may not be fun, but get out there with a scrape and brush to manually remove as much snow and ice as you are able. Do not have your Alaska winter car rentals on throughout this, as it will just waste fuel.

Want to avoid spending ten minutes scraping ice? Park your car facing east. We may not get much sun in the winter, but what we do get will help reduce the amount of snow and ice build up on your car. Of course, if possible, park your Alaska winter car rentals in a covered area to avoid the hassle all together.

Check tire pressure

While we’ll make sure your car is in tip-top shape when you pick it up, you’ll want to keep an eye on tire pressure throughout. Many gas stations have spots to fill the pressure for free. But if you’re renting your vehicle for an extended period, checking it every few days in the poor conditions is a good habit to get into as low temperatures contribute to pressure loss, which contributes to terrible fuel economy.

No one likes spending more than necessary. That’s why at Avis, we have the best deals on the best, most efficient Alaska winter car rentals. Reserve your vehicle today for a stress-free holiday season.

Tips for Hassle-Free Alaska Holiday Rentals

Alaska’s winter wonderland is back. The chill has begun, and now that December is finally here, we can say hello to the holiday season! The holidays are always a busy time for us, as we’re sure they are for you too. But if you want it to be hassle-free, you’ll want to book your Alaska holiday rentals soon before the fleet dwindles.

Of course, there’s more to booking Alaska holiday rentals than reserving early – though that is an important aspect. Mostly, it’s just about preparation and staying calm. The holiday season can be a stressful time. We want your car rentals to help reduce stress, not add to it.

Book Alaska holiday rentals early

For many, this is simply common sense. But booking Alaska holiday rentals – cars, equipment, hotels, cabins, and tours – early will go a long way in reducing your stress and increasing your enjoyment throughout the season.

The holiday season is busy in the service and entertainment industries, so you want to beat the rush. The earlier you book, the more options you’ll have for rentals. That means you’ll be almost guaranteed your first preference.

Booking early will also help you properly prepare your insurance. It will give you the time you need to coordinate with your insurance company to ensure you are covered, and if you aren’t, add insurance to your reservation. Just in case you’re put on hold or sent to voicemail, you’ll have plenty of time to get the information you need from your insurance company.

Finally, reserving early often means you get the best price available. While we like to pride ourselves on having the best price for car rentals in the state, prices always peak during the holidays. And, like all holiday prices, early bird may just get the biggest worm for the best deal.

Be prepared for winter

Alaska is known for its harsh winters. That means that when you pick up your Alaska holiday rentals, you want to be prepared. Bring along an emergency kit for extreme circumstances. In the kit, necessities like a few flares, a first aid kit, thermo blanket, heat candles, and a car phone charger should of course be included. However, it’s not a bad idea to pack some non-perishable food items as well as water bottles and juice boxes. A minimum of 2-3 days of food items and heating candles is strongly recommended.

You want foods that are high in calories and protein to keep you warm and full. Good non-perishables include nuts and trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, power and protein bars, crackers, peanut butter, ready-to-eat canned goods (fruit, veggies, and even meats and fish) with a can opener, vitamins, baby food (if traveling with infants), and non-perishable milk (certain types of almond milk, for instance). Emergency situations are stressful, so it can be a good idea to bring along some comfort foods. Things like chocolate bars, small snack-sized bags of chips, and dried jerky are great choices.

And don’t forget the furry friends! If you’re traveling with a pet, be sure to bring along extra supplies of pet food and enough water for the whole crew.

Get a car that suits the journey

Soon, Alaska will be covered in snow and ice. Do you feel more comfortable in a large car with 4X4 options? Another reason to book early. Reserve a vehicle choice that suits your needs. It’s possible that if you’ve got a few travelers with you, as well as some gifts and other cargo, you’ll definitely want one of our SUVs or a minivan.

Not only will these add to your feeling of security, but they’ll ensure that the gifts and baby seat fit comfortably to reduce the stress and claustrophobia of your journey.

Start your stress-free holiday season with a reservation for Alaska holiday rentals from Avis.