As much as we like to think it won’t happen to us, every winter a few people always get stranded and are unprepared for a winter emergency in their own vehicle.
If you live in the North, you probably grew up with an emergency kit packed with everything you might need in the car well before the snow flew.
Here in the South, prepping an winter driving survival kit doesn’t always land on the pre-December to do list. But when the snow does fly here, its a for sure MUST HAVE.
The South doesn’t have the resources the North does when there’s a winter storm and lots of snow, plus very few drivers here have enough experience to drive safely.
Being prepared for anything that may arise is my car driving winter motto!
The following is a list of some items that everyone should have in their car for winter emergencies:
Funny to think, but you do not want to be stranded without cash. Cash can be used to buy gas when bank machines, or power, is down. Cash can be used to purchase a quart of oil from another motorist, or who knows what. It is best to carry several small bills, and not all in one bundle.
This requires that you check the batteries regularly, or better yet get a wind up flashlight that works without batteries.
A candle, and matches.
Why do you need a candle if you have a flashlight? Simply because the candle will do something a flashlight cannot, it will provide warmth.
If stuck in a snow drift you may be able to dig yourself free. Do not attempt this in extreme weather conditions as you may over taken by the cold, or may even be hit by other traffic. Small metal shovels work better than plastic ones.
Extra gloves and a hat.
Just in case you forget yours or they get wet.
Again a simple tool to keep you warm if your vehicle should break down.
A list of phone numbers.
You might have these stored in a cell phone, but cell phones are not 100% reliable and can be forgotten. Phone numbers can also be given to other motorists if you have to ask them for help.
These are always helpful if your vehicle is stalled.
An extra quart of oil.
Sure you have the cash (as mentioned above) but it is much easier if you carry your own than if you have to look for some to buy from somebody.
A gas can.
In the event you should run out. Although it must be noted that in the winter it is a good idea to keep your tank at least half full at all times.
A piece of bright red cloth.
In an emergency you can put this out your door or window. It signals to others that you are in distress and need help.
A first aid kit.
This is really an all-round good item to have in your car, and is not specific to winter, yet many people overlook this seemingly obvious piece of equipment.
Even if you think you know the area, detours as the result of other accidents may throw you for a loop. Be prepared and always carry a road map. Your GPS system may not always be reliable.
Leave the pets at home.
One thing you should not bring with you is your pet. While your dog might normally enjoy a car ride, if you should suffer an emergency dealing with the added burden of an animal might be very difficult. If for some reason you do have to bring your pet with you, be sure to use a carrier, or bring an extra leash.
Keep safe this winter, be prepared and drive carefully.