With snow, ice and bitterly cold temperatures, even a small issue in winter can turn into an emergency for the unprepared. Fortunately, keeping these three things on hand can ensure an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a life-threatening situation.
A Source of Warmth
Every year, snow and ice storms strand many thousands of motorists. Though it’s often only a matter of hours, some people have been stranded for several days. With plummeting temperatures and no way to get to safety, it’s critical to have warm blankets, gloves, hats and other articles of clothing on hand. A full change of clothes is best, though it may not be practical. Chemical hand warmers work well for keeping extremities warm in the cold weather, and a pair of boots or galoshes can come in very handy as well.
A Cellular Phone
It may seem obvious, but a working cellphone can quite literally be a life-saver. While most people already carry a cellphone every day, it’s also a good idea to put a spare in the glove compartment or center console. Even if it isn’t activated, it can still be used to contact emergency services as long as a signal is available. It’s also a good idea to carry car chargers or spare batteries for both phones since batteries can lose their charge over time.
A Source of Traction
Although it’s important to have supplies on hand in the event of being stranded, the best solution is to self-rescue whenever possible. The biggest problem in winter is often a lack of traction, but fortunately there are several things that can be used to increase traction without taking up a lot of trunk space. One option is to carry a few pounds of sand or kitty litter, which can be sprinkled around a vehicle’s tires to increase traction on ice or compacted snow. Another option is chains or tire socks, which work by fitting over the tires and providing additional grip.
A good winter safety kit may include many other items, including jumper cables and basic tools, a flashlight or other light source, non-perishable food and water, a snow shovel and a first aid kit, but at a minimum, every driver should carry these three things during the colder months.
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