Most families prefer to move in the summer months, but that isn’t always a possibility. If you need to make your move in the wintertime, these 5 suggestions will help prepare you for some of the worst pitfalls that can arise during a winter move.

1. Be Mindful of Winter’s Short Days

The sun sets early in wintertime, which can leave you at a disadvantage when you’re in the dark and trying to load or unload your moving van. If it’s possible that your packing process could drag on into the evening hours, it’s a good idea to pick up a headlamp for every family member who will be participating in the move. That way nobody will be fumbling and tripping around inside a dark moving vehicle or slipping on ice on the way to the truck.

2. Check the Weather Forecast

If at all possible, you want to avoid moving when snow, freezing rain or sleet are predicted in the weather forecast. Losing control on slippery roads could cause serious damages to the furniture and boxes inside a moving truck. It will also take more time to travel to your new home if you have to slow down for accidents and slow traffic, and to avoid slipping on the road.

3. Pack Safety Essentials in the Moving Vehicle

Even if you’ve checked the weather forecast carefully and found that the weather is supposed to be good, there are no guarantees the forecast will be accurate. If you’re moving in the wintertime, it’s wise to have supplies like snow tires, salt, a shovel and an ice scraper in the vehicle with you just in case nature decides to drop some freezing precipitation on your entourage in transit. It’s also beneficial to pack an extra cell phone battery plus blankets, bottled water and snacks in case you break down.

4. Get Estimates from Reliable Moving Companies

A professional moving company like Allen’s Transfer can do a lot to make your transition easier when you’re moving from one place to the next. Many movers will give you a choice as to whether you want to do your own packing or have them handle it. You can even delegate the task of obtaining boxes and packing supplies to them if you want to.

It is particularly important to consult with professional movers if you need to move anything oversized or complicated. If you have a shed or other structure that will be coming with you to your new location, you’ll need to ensure its safe transport. You’ll also want to be sure that all local laws will be followed in the process.

5. Plan Your Trip to Avoid Rush Hour Traffic

Heavy traffic can add significant amounts of time onto a moving trip. If possible, it’s advisable to plan your trip at non-peak hours — particularly if there’s a possibility that the weather conditions will be rainy, foggy or adverse. Even if the hour is overly early or late, at least you’ll have the road more to yourself.

If you follow these 5 suggestions, you’re much more likely to enjoy a smooth move even if you’re moving during the coldest winter months. As long as you keep safety in mind during winter weather, you should be able to have just a smooth of a move as in the summertime.