We’re always preaching preparedness and winter is maybe the most important season to be prepared for. Even if winter weather isn’t as unpredictable as spring and summer weather, a blizzard or ice storm can put you in serious danger, especially if you are on the road when it hits. Roughly 1,300 people die from exposure every winter in the US. Even though you likely won’t face the threat of exposure in the comfort of your own vehicle, it is still vital to take these steps to ensure you and your family’s safety if you get stranded in the middle of a winter storm. If your region is susceptible to winter weather, it’s a smart idea to keep these things in your car when the temperatures drop.
Self explanatory. These should be in your vehicle year round. You never know when you’ll need to play Good Samaritan, or vice versa.
A bag of sand or gravel
Some cars get stranded in winter conditions because the tread on their tires cannot get grip in the slick road conditions caused by ice and snow. An even layer of of sand or gravel in front of your tires on top of packed snow or ice can help get your car moving and avoid being stranded for hours while you wait for a break in the weather or a tow truck.
Heavy clothes and a blanket
Jackets, sweatshirts, long johns, sweatpants, gloves. Anything that will keep you warm if you’re forced to spend an extended amount of time in your car, especially at night. Think in terms of layers. The more you can insulate yourself, the warmer you will be.
Candle in a can
This simple, yet effective heating source can keep your car warm if you are stranded overnight or for extended periods of time. Your car’s heating system is based off the heat your engine generates, therefore using gas to keep your car warm. Keep a sandwich bag full of tea candles and matches in a coffee can. Place 2-3 candles at the bottom of the can and light them. Place the can in a safe area of your car, away from fabric or anything flammable. The can acts as a radiator and emits a small amount of heat that should at the very least keep your vehicle from turning into a block of ice.
If you’re going to be stranded overnight, take the proper steps to make sure you can navigate around your car without draining your car battery. More importantly, if you need to signal law enforcement or send an SOS signal, this will be a literal lifesaver.
Crank power radio
Preserve your car and cell phone’s batteries by getting your information from a crank radio. Leaving your car’s battery on during cold weather will drain it quickly. Use a crank radio like the Midland ER310 to keep your cell phone charged and informed about weather and road conditions.
Multiple sources of communication
Snowstorms can affect cell phone networks. Cell phone networks are much more reliable than they used to be, however a communication redundancy like CB or two-way radios will ensure that you’re never out of touch with your loved ones and can call for help if needed.
For just a few dollars, you can turn your car into a winter storm safe haven. Take a few minutes to gather these items and stow them in your car’s trunk.