In an emergency, being prepared is the most crucial key to survival. Emergencies are more likely to occur during the winter months, due to adverse weather.
In the Northern hemisphere, winter time brings snow, ice and sleet. When these weather conditions happen, sliding off the road, falling and car breakdowns occur on a frequent basis. What you do before those things happen can make all the difference.
The American Automobile Association suggests that if you become snow-bound, remain with your vehicle until help arrives. It makes a temporary shelter and will make it easier for rescuers to locate you.
If you have prepared an emergency winter time kit for your car, truck or van, waiting for rescue will be easier and safer; your chances of survival also increase dramatically.
How to Make a Car Winter Emergency Kit
Get a small box that can fit easily on the floorboard of the back seat of your car, or behind the seat of your truck. It is best to have it somewhere within easy reach, in case you are unable to open one of your doors.
The box can be cardboard or one of the many plastic containers available from retail outlets.
A small flashlight is an invaluable tool in any emergency. Having a source of light available can change a bad situation into one that can be dealt with easily. Flashlights with metal cases are best, since they are very durable and long-lasting. Make sure the batteries are fresh and put a spare set into the box.
Fire Gel or Candles
Fire gels are flammable liquids suspended in a jelly-like substance which, when lit, provide heat to cook food, warm yourself or melt snow for water to drink. Add a few of these to your box, along with a book of matches or a lighter.
Take care if you have even a small fire (such as burning a candle) inside of a vehicle. This can be dangerous and should be done only as a last resort. You will need to open the windows enough to provide proper ventilation.
A few small cans of food which can be eaten raw or cooked easily with the fire gel could change what would have been a fight for survival into a simple matter of waiting. An accident or breakdown will not always occur within a habitable area and help may be far away. Foods such as soups, sardines, vegetables or stews are easy to prepare and the empty cans could be used to hold drinking water.
Other foods, such as candy bars or crackers, can also be stored, but can stale quickly in cold vehicles. If you have a baby, adding a can or two of formula is a good idea, as well.
Do not forget to put a can opener in your box if you will be adding these items.
Any cooking should take place outside of the vehicle.
First Aid Items
Quite a number of small, convenient and easy to store first aid kits are available for purchase at most retail stores and pharmacies, and having one is invaluable.
Newspapers or Magazines
These items are not for reading; it is well-known that paper is a good way to insulate your body from the cold air. Simply rip the pages into pieces and line your clothing with them. It will allow you to retain a large amount of body heat and help to prevent hypothermia.
Auto Escape Hammer
These small tools would not be placed into your box, but can be mounted on your dashboard, sun visor or other convenient and easy-to-reach locations. Most versions of this tool incorporate a hammer to smash out a window if you are trapped, a knife for cutting through jammed seat belts, a needle to punch a hole in an inflated air bag, a whistle and a flashlight.
They are inexpensive and can save the lives of you and your family if you become trapped or drive off the road into the water.
You can cover your box with a folded up blanket, which will not only protect the contents of the box from debris, but can be used to keep yourself warm in an emergency.
Other items can be placed into your box as needed.
The Most Important Item for Your Emergency Kit
When an emergency happens, remaining calm and not panicking are the most important things you can do.
Being prepared ahead of time, and making sure you get routine maintenance at your local dealership, will help you to do just that.
Keep in mind that you always have the option of staying home. If the weather is is less than ideal it’s better to be home and safe!