The danger of winter weather varies as you cross the country, but no matter where you live, a winter car kit is a necessity. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers.
Snowstorms last February in the Great Plains and in the East stranded many motorists in their cars overnight on Interstate 29 in Kansas, the Long Island Expressway in New York and other roadways. It pays to be prepared.
Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Here are a few essentials for your winter car survival kit:
first aid kit with pocket knife
emergency flares and reflectors
flashlight with extra batteries
snack food including energy bars
raisins and mini candy bars
matches and small candles
extra hats, socks and mittens
blankets or sleeping bag
tow chain or rope
road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
cell phone charger
Some extra tips:
Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout.
Store items in the passenger compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut.
Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold.