You don’t need a fortune teller or The Old Farmer’s Almanac to tell you how to get ready for
winter travel in your vehicle; we’ve got you covered. For the most part, our Department of
Transportation (DOT) does a great job of clearing the roads of snow and laying down gravel or
sand to help on icy spots. But, the truth is most of us take winter time driving for granted.
Many of us travel across several states during the holidays to reach family and friends.
However, how many of you actually think about the dangers of winter time driving? Blinding
winter squalls have actually accounted for nearly 4,000 deaths in the past five years, according
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Yes, winter can bring a beautiful snow-covered landscape, but it also packs a deadly punch for
those who aren’t prepared to take it serious. Winter time car accidents can be especially
unforgiving, because all too often black ice lurks just below the thin layer of white snow. And,
many times families end up losing a loved one, or their loved one receives a serious injury that
is disabling or disfiguring.
A lot of times, if people just gave Old Man Winter the respect he needs, it could mean the
difference between a car accident and getting to your final destination safely. Neil Hillyard, a Denver attorney, has seen 40 years of Colorado winters, so he can personally attest: “No one is
ever fully ready for a winter time car accident, but we can all take certain precautions.”
Let’s bring this blog back to a happy place, by taking back our responsibility for safe winter time
travel. So, let’s build “The Ultimate Winter Car Survival Kit” for our vehicles to give us peace of
mind, and, who knows, it may even come in handy someday. The best place to store the
following items are in your trunk in a clear plastic container, so you can see your items. There’s
kits out there you can buy, but let’s face it everyone has a budget. Plus, by building your own,
you can customize it to suit you and your family.
Flashlight(s) with plenty of back-up batteries.
Flares and reflective tape, cone, or triangle. This will help emergency services find you
Whistle. Not only do whistles help scare off potential offenders, but they are great for
helping emergency services locate you, especially when visibility is an issue.
First Aid Kit – including Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, gauze pads, etc.). For a
more complete list of first aid supplies, check out the American Red Cross’ definitive list.
Pack a “Preparedness Picnic.” We’re very serious, even though this sounds like an
oxymoron or a spoof. Be sure you have enough food for a few meals for yourself and a few
others; depending on your family size. Make sure food is non-perishable containers, vacuum
packages, and tins. For instance, tuna fish, beef sticks, and sardines would be great
sources of protein. Use your imagination, because you can make it as tasty as you like, too.
Other food item ideas include string cheese, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, candy bars. Be sure
you also have plenty of water.
Multi-tool for small repairs and tasks. A Leatherman tool or Swiss Army knife would work
Snow gear. Ice scrapper, snow shovel, winter-grade windshield fluid, non-clumpy kitty
litter (for better traction), and extra car fuses. Don’t forget to have a cell phone charge in your
Maps. Especially if you are going to be traveling through sparsely populated areas. This is
only to give you an indication of where you might be with regard to the next town. But, you
should never leave your car to find help. Your best chance at surviving a winter night, if you
should get stranded, is to stay in your car and try to stay warm.
Miscellaneous gear. A class B or C fire extinguisher. A tire gauge to check tire pressure.
Extra clothes, gloves, hats, blankets, and pillows. Hand sanitizer or baby wipes. Duct tape. Also,
stash some extra quarters, dimes, and nickels for phone calls, soda pops, or snacks.
See, we told you it would be fun to gather these items. Chances are you’ll end up snacking on
some of your kit, but that just shows how well you’ve selected the components. Just make sure
you replace any used items with replacements!
Thank you to Dawn Balite for writing this informative article!