Prepare for Winter: Make a Car Emergency Kit
Winter storms can produce adverse driving conditions that could leave you in an emergency situation. Poor driving conditions like blowing snow and icy streets can cause your vehicle to slide off the road. Other vehicle problems like dead batteries, flat tires, and low fuel can also leave you stranded on the side of the road as well. If the weather conditions remain hazardous, rescue crews may not be able to reach you for hours or even days. Every year thousands of stranded motorists are rescued but there are always a few unfortunate individuals that do not survive.
It is recommended that if the weather may potentially become hazardous, you do not leave your home. But it is important to prepare a car emergency kit to keep in your vehicle so that if you must venture out in harsh road conditions, you will be prepared for survival. Here are some essential supplies that you should definitely keep in your car emergency kit. These supplies are so small they can fit in a backpack which is easy to carry and will not take up a lot of space in your vehicle. The supply list is partly based on the American Red Cross Emergency Supply Kit.
- Water: A 3-day supply is recommended. You will need about 1 gallon per person per day.
- Food: It is recommended that you keep a 3-day supply of non-perishable, high energy foods that are easy to prepare.
- Manual can opener
- Glow stick: A one-time use, short-term light source.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Multi-purpose tool
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Duct tape
- Candle: For emergency heating
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Emergency blanket: These thin, metallized plastic blankets, though extremely compact, are waterproof and windproof and can prevent heat loss.
There are some additional supplies that you might want to add to your car emergency kit as well. These supplies include:
- Water Filter: In the event that your water supplies run low.
- Red bandana: You can tie this to your car antenna to indicate you need help.
- Medications: A seven day supply is recommended.
- Copies of personal documents
- Cell phone with charger
- Emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Map of the area
- Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes: Remember, loosely woven cotton and wool trap warm air and resist dampness really well.
- Plastic sheeting
- Sleeping bag
- Baby and/or pet supplies, if necessary
- Booster cables for starting vehicle
- Fire extinguisher
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Sack of sand or kitty litter: These items will help you get more tire traction.
- Windshield scraper and brush
If you become stranded, it is important that you stay with your vehicle. Remaining in your vehicle helps rescuers find you and protects you from severe exposure to the elements. In order to conserve gasoline, only run the engine for 10 minutes every hour. During this time you can run the heater to take away the chill. You can also turn on your interior light at night which helps rescuers find you and provides a small amount of heat. Before running the engine, make sure that the exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice, or mud as this could cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment.
The car emergency kit can be used for any emergency, not just during a winter storm. Gather your supplies and keep your kit in your car at all times so that you are better prepared to survive any type of crisis situation.