In the case that it does happen, here are some ways to be prepared:
One of the most important things when traveling in Winter, especially if you are traveling in remote areas, is to always let somebody know where you are going and when you will be back! Call that contact person upon safe arrival, and if they do not hear from you they will know you are stranded and can send help. You never know when a Winter storm is going to sneak up on you!
Below are some items to keep in your vehicle at all times during the Winter months. You never know when there is going to be an accident, a traffic jam, closed roads or even an unexpected overnight stay in an unfamiliar city.
Winter Emergency Car Kit:
- Blanket: In the instance that you get stranded or stuck, being cold will only make it more miserable. Having a warm blanket on hand will make you more comfortable. A blanket is also handy for if there is an accident, and somebody is going into shock. You will also need a blanket if there is an accident, and somebody is laying in the road.
- Snacks: Getting stranded during mealtime, especially if you are a diabetic, can be very inconvenient. Having snacks and drink on hand at all times will help being stranded a little more bearable.
- Walking shoes: Sometimes getting out and walking is a must if you are stuck or need to get to a phone. TIP: If you are stranded in a remote area, sometimes it’s best to stay with your vehicle. Use common sense when getting out and walking.
- Cell phone: Having a cell phone to call for help is always a must! If you do not currently have a cell phone and cell phone plan, you can still call 911 from ANY cell phone, even if it’s not activated or on a plan!
- Cell charger: A cell phone with a dead battery is useless, so make sure to always have a charge on hand. Even if you leave home with a full battery, if you get stranded for a long period of time, your battery may go dead in the meantime. You can purchase inexpensive cell chargers that plug into your cigarette lighter.
- Snow scraper: It’s not possible to drive if you can’t see out of your windows. You may get stuck somewhere and have to get out and scrape off the snow from your windows. Turning on your wipers to remove the snow is never a good idea! Read why HERE.
- Shovel: Never assume that you are not going to get stuck. You could be traveling along a well-traveled stretch of highway, and slide into a snowbank. Always carry a shovel in case you need to dig yourself out.
- Flashlight with extra batteries: If you get stranded at night, you are going to need a light and a way to see your way around. A flashlight with dead batteries is useless, so always carry extra batteries.
- Jumper cables: Always a good idea to have in your vehicle in the occurrence that your battery runs dead.
- Change of clothes: You never know when you are going to get soaking wet trying to dig yourself out. A change of clothes will help you stay dry. You also never know when you are going to get stranded overnight, and having a change of clothes will help you stay more comfortable.
- Gloves, Hat, Winter Coat: Not having proper winter gear will only add to the discomfort of being stranded. Even if you are “running a quick errand”, make sure you have the proper gear should you have to get out and walk.
- Road Flares: If you get stranded, you are going to need a way to signal for help. Road flares can be seen for miles away, and will tell others that you need help.
- A bag of Ice Melt: This is good for two things: 1) If you are stuck on a patch of ice, and need to melt the ice in order to dig yourself out; and 2) A great way to get traction is to add weight to your back end or trunk. Read more about that HERE.