wintercar2Yes, I am being a little industrious today…but when the mood hits, you ride with it…

Have to travel during a ‘wintry’ event in your car. So now what?
I have put together a quick list of what to have in your car to survive the unexpected. No one likes to think about being stuck in traffic grid lock, or having to shelter in place or forbid, having an accident in which help may not arrive any time soon. (Been there done that one, too bad I didn’t hit the deer!) But by having a few things available to you, you can be somewhat comfortable and warm…just in case your car becomes your home away from home for awhile during the winter:
PS…I would recommend keeping it somewhat in reach within the confines of the car, so you don’t have to get out to get it.

Winter survival kit for the car:
In the bag (not optional):
Extra gloves and a beanie hat
2 extra pairs of socks
At least one warm blanket
Emergency Mylar blankets (several)
External way of recharging cell phone
Water (at least 1 quart, metal bottle preferred, plastic can break)
Hand and foot warmers
Protein Bars or Other type of no need to cook food (jerky, dried fruit)
Flashlight (handcrank type)
Flares (you can buy the type that uses batteries)
Decent first aid kit (not the little one)
Good knife
Duct tape
Folding shovel
Waterproof Matches
Ice Scraper

Optional Items but Great to Have:

Snow Boots
Extra Clothing
Kitty Litter/Rock Salt
Small Wood Camping Stove (yes, a bit overboard but you never know) great way to melt snow for water.
Small handcrank radio
PMates (look them up)
A couple empty plastic water jugs

Additionally, you should always have your cell phone with you and keep in touch with family, and while I get GPS is a tracking device (which I don’t like) I would make sure its turned on just in case…they can track you via your gps coordinates of your cell phone.
Sprint has a great service called Family Locator and is cheap and easy to use…just requires that the cell phone be on.

Keep in mind that if you are traveling with children you will need MORE of the above items and it would be a great idea to pack in the car bag a few things for them to do to stay busy if you have to be in the car for an extended period of time.
EMT’s are trained to look on cell phones for ICE numbers. In Case of Emergency…get at least one listed on yours.

While I understand that many people have to wear work appropriate clothing, if you know a winter event is coming or could potentially happen, do yourself a favor and change clothes before leaving work to head home.

Make sure you have a full tank of gas before heading out or coming home.

Remember, you can run your car for 10 minutes at a time to warm up (once an hour) if you are stuck. The kicker here is that you really NEED to MAKE SURE YOUR TAIL PIPE IS NOT BLOCKED by snow or ice. If it is covered up or iced over guess what? Carbon Monoxide WILL get into the car and that is a potential life threatening situation.

IF you have to get out of your car, be extremely mindful of what is going on around you. Cars or trucks whizzing by can hit you, sliding of cars…you get the idea. Be AWARE.

Stay or leave the car? This is situational and you may have to make that choice if you are unable to move the car for whatever reason. On that note, years ago I swerved to miss a deer in the middle of the night on a very icy and snow packed road out in the middle of nowhere. I went to the right and guess what? A nice big drainage gully was there. I managed to get the car pointed down so I didn’t roll, but had to leave the car knowing that A) no one knew exactly where I was (cell phones at that time really stunk) and wouldn’t miss me until probably about 8 hours had passed. B) The car was so far down this gully that no one would see it C) it was 2 am in the morning on a Sunday so chances were no one would be driving anytime soon.
And would you believe that I was in area with homes scattered here and there and after knocking on a few doors (pounding actually) and no answer, I gave up and started walking back towards civilization. It was freezing cold and although I had appropriate cold weather gear on (including warm boots) as I walked towards a telephone I got colder and colder. There were a few other things that I found interesting too…a) although I was walking on a major roadway, not one person who passed me stopped to see if I was okay b) walking in the cold becomes a really hard job after about an hour (it took me 3 ½ hours to make it to a working telephone).
So that is my story on that…but the decision to stay or leave can become a life saving or life endangering one and is something to think about before hand.

If you DO happen to make the decision to leave your car…leave a note with your name, number, emergency contact and your hopeful destination…leave your car unlocked too. No sense in making anyone’s job harder and if you have to turn around back to the car for some reason and your hands are really cold, it will make it easier to get back into.

Just my thoughts on being prepared for a winters ride.

wintercar

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