An emergency kit can go a long ways to help drivers keep safe on the road in the winter. No matter where a person lives, winter weather can hit hard with below zero temperatures and wind chills that can be deadly. A simple emergency kit should always be in a vehicle. Winter weather emergency kits should include a few important extras besides jumper cables.
Most emergency kits for vehicles contain expected items like a flare, an emergency sign, flashlight, some basic tools and first aid supplies. Winter weather demands additional items including gloves, matches or lighter, ice scraper and a blanket. In colder weather most persons will be already wearing a coat or jacket, hat and boots. Boots are important for preventing frostbitten feet and toes. They should be carried along in the vehicle if not worn by occupants. Be sure that there is some type of emergency food in the vehicle, such as a chocolate bar. Kitty litter or sand can be carried along to provide traction.
One very important tool for cold weather emergencies is a sharp knife. A small hatchet is another good tool for cutting small branches in case there is need to build a fire while waiting for help. A first aid and basic survival manual can also be very helpful to have in the vehicle at all times.
For communication assistance be sure to have a charged cell phone available whenever you travel. Some cars are outfitted with voice assistance like the OnStar service offers or through global voice activated communication systems. If those are unavailable, keep phone change in the vehicle. A portable radio with good batteries can bring you local weather alerts.
Tools in the emergency kit to keep safe on the road in winter should include a screwdriver, tire sealant and an adjustable crescent wrench at minimum. Before traveling in bad weather, check the oil and coolant levels and the antifreeze temperature range. Carry some extra coolant in the vehicle in case you have a leak.
A small shovel or army type folding shovel can be very helpful if you are stuck in a snowdrift. Stay in the car but watch for help. Put flashers on. Do not stay in the car with the engine running if there is any chance your tailpipe will become plugged up with snow drifts. Remain with the car for protection from the elements and post some type of red or white flag for assistance. Being plowed under heavy snow is not going to have a good outcome.
Use a map and be aware of passing landmarks and businesses in case you do become stranded. If you need to walk any distance, be sure that you will be warm enough. If you are truly stranded in wilderness, it may be necessary to take the knife and cut up the car cushions to get the padding and materials to wrap up in for warmth. The survival guide can explain extreme measures like this.
Before you travel in inclement or cold weather make sure you have emergency items in place and read up about cold weather survival. Have a full gas tank and a good vehicle battery. A blanket is necessary for each person. Using a cell phone can be one of the best emergency tools you can buy and use. Plan ahead and keep the emergency kit to keep safe on the road in winter filled. It is better to plan to be safe than to be sorry later.
To recap, your emergency winter weather travel kit should include the following items:
Emergency sign – need assistance sign
Cell phone – charged
Basic tools – screwdriver, crescent wrench, tire sealant
Coat, hat, gloves, boots
Water and food of some type
Portable radio with good batteries
Matches or lighter
Kitty litter or sand
Sharp knife or hatchet
First aid kit
Extra coolant and oil
The added weight of your emergency kit will help with traction! Do not despair if you do get stranded. Stay calm, stay warm and call for help.