Winter Weather Preparedness
With winter weather arriving and already here in some states, we should all be thinking about an emergency car kit. The car kit is a little more tricky than a home kit because you were limited with space and you don’t want to be hauling around a lot of extra weight.
However, if you ended up stranded on the side of the road or in a ditch in freezing temperatures, there are a few things you should have in your vehicle that could mean the difference between life and death. The number one thing you should have in your vehicle, and this sounds like a given, but it’s not, is fuel. When the temperature drops, don’t let your gas gauge drop. You should always keep the level of the fuel above half a tank. Many things come our way that we have no control over but running out of gas is not one of them. The same goes for keeping your vehicle in good shape. I know tuneups are costly and take time, but no one has ever been happy about skipping one when they’re stranded on a deserted, icy road.
The next step is to think about your driving patterns. If you live and work in a metropolitan area, it’s not likely that you will be stranded in the desert area. On the other hand, if you travel long distance is for work or live in a more rural area, you’re going to need to be equipped for a longer wait. You don’t have to plan for the zombie apocalypse but being able to survive in your car for at least a full day is a reasonable goal. Once you were stranded, your two biggest concerns will be staying warm and staying hydrated. While being hungry is not a pleasant feeling, you can go quite a while without food. You won’t last long without water or warmth. Sure, you can retrieve water from the ice and snow around you, but you’re going to lose any warmth you have by getting out of your vehicle to do that. It is for this reason I suggest keeping water in your vehicle. Choosing smaller bottles as opposed to a gallon jug may be a better option as the smaller containers will thaw more quickly if frozen. A small cooler may be beneficial as well. A cooler may keep cold items cold longer but it will also keep thawed items thawed longer. You should also have a winter weight sleeping bag or a couple of wool blankets in your car along with a pair of boots and outerwear. Don’t forget a hat, gloves and scarf. You can loose a lot of heat unnecessarily without them. They don’t have to be fashionable, just functional.
I also recommend a jar candle or two or even am old coffee can with an inch of sand and a bag of tea light candles. You would be surprised at the heat a couple of little flames give off. And don’t forget matches or a working lighter. I said you can go without food for a while but it doesn’t hurt to keep a few snacks in the car. Granola or protein bars, dehydrated fruit and nuts are good options. Keep things you will actually eat in there. No, you won’t starve in a day but keeping something to munch on will make you more comfortable and keep you from digging around in the floorboard for the remaining crumbs in the old Pringles can.
Jumper cables and a tow rope can come in quite handy in the event a bypasser stops to offer assistance. Even a 5lb bag of kitty litter or sand and a small shovel could save the day if your car is operational but simply stuck. You will also need a way to signal for help. Don’t just assume someone will see you. People are often concentrated on the road when conditions are bad. Besides, do you know how visible a light colored car is in a snow bank? Not very. In the event the electrical system in your car is disabled, you will need flares or, even better, an led emergency beacon. These are fairly cheap, battery operated stobe type lights that are easily seen even at a distance.
If you toss all of that together with a small first aid kit and keep it in your car at all times, your chances of survival will increase exponentially.
Just remember… Have a plan, be prepared and don’t panic.
~Tessa and Mikey