Off to Grandma’s House we go! Winter trips can be fun and a great getaway for your family. With careful planning they can be safe no matter the weather. Pop up winter storms are just a normal part of winter. Expected or not, your safety depends on how prepared you are for what lies ahead on a winter car trip. The bags are packed, the books to read are tucked away and our cell phones are fully charged – the trip is about to begin! Have you forgotten anything? Most likely the last thing to be thought of is the weather on your journey. Be prepared for winter weather with some simple accessories and helpful hints that we have provided below.
Cell Phone Charged?
Your cell phone is one of your most precious communication tools if you get stranded in a winter storm or skid off the highway. A phone charger is important year round. Keep your phone on charge while you are driving and keeping it fully charged will ensure that should something happen you are able to conserve the charge by shutting the phone off and not drawing on your battery too.
Preferably made of wool in red or orange that is bright enough to be seen if you are over an embankment or stuck in a ditch.
Pre-packaged kits are available at your local WalMart, Home Depot and Lowe’s Stores as well as on Amazon.com. Be sure to refresh your kit or purchase new every three-four years. Simply bandages and antibiotic ointment won’t be enough – get the real thing!
Car Safety Kit
These kits are available through your local WalMart and most auto supply stores. These kits usually have safety triangles, flares, etc inside for your safety should your automobile breakdown on the road any time of year. Be sure to replace your kit after use to ensure you have fresh flares and the needed items.
These are not only helpful to weighing down the tail end of your vehicle, they can provide traction option as well for slick roads.
Flashlight & Spare Flashlight Batteries
Flashlights are a must during any season. The spare batteries will ensure your flashlight will work, even if you have to use it for an extended period of time, you have more! Check them regularly and keep them in a plastic bag to keep them dry. (Note- don’t store matches in the same bag)
Jumper Cables or Jump Starter
Handy when temperatures dip down and your battery won’t start. A jump starter contains a chargeable battery that allows you to jump start your car without the need for a second car and sometimes comes with an air compressor built in to refill a tire with low air pressure. Your local auto parts store, WalMart and Amazon stock handy carrying case jumper cables and jump starters that you can leave in your vehicle year round.
A scraper is necessary to scrape off the snow and chip away at ice that may form. Always brush / scrape snow off your entire automobile before moving to ensure the safety of others. Blowing snow and ice off of vehicles can cause accidents and chain reactions may occur. Be courteous and protect yourself and others!
Case of Water
An easy and safe item to add to your vehicle in winter that may save you from dehydration should you encounter a major highway shutdown or skid off the highway. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do when you are trapped in winter.
Case of your favorite Granola or Energy Bars
Another easy way to protect yourself when highways shutdown or you get stranded. Don’t like Granola or Energy Bars? Grab some peanut butter crackers instead! This helpful vehicle stock item will also be invaluable when you are shopping as a pick me up and save you money! Keeping the body fueled if you are stranded is as important as staying hydrated.
A shovel can prove invaluable, however your vehicle may not be big enough to carry a normal sized shovel. If your vehicle cannot fit a normal sized shovel, many retailers now carry portable shovels that can be easily assembled. A simple trenching shovel from your camping gear could be a simple solution that allows you to be fully prepared in mud or snow.
Two wrapped fire logs
This will help you stay warm and draw attention to you if you have run off the roadway. Whether you choose the pre-wrapped logs from WalMart or your local hardware store or carry a couple fire logs from home with a full newspaper, you have the ability to draw heat and attention.
Waterproof Matches / Bic Grill Lighter
Paired with the fire logs you will look and feel like a pro if you get stranded. Knowing you are prepared is half the battle against a stressful situation!
Always carry a small amount of your medications in your vehicle. Refresh your inventory every time you refill your prescriptions, however keeping a 3-5 day supply of prescription medications in your vehicle will relieve stress and allow you to get the necessary medication for whatever condition you have. Stranded, on a trip or off the roadway, think of the important things!
You never know when you may need a tool. Keep a basic automobile toolkit with tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and be prepared!
Work and Warm Gloves
It is important to protect your hands from hazards and cold. Carrying both kinds will ensure you are prepared for anything!
Clothing appropriate to the season
The key to keeping you from succumbing to the elements is proper clothing. Be sure to have a fold away rain coat, a warm winter coat and snow pants too! Carry an extra hat that will be warm enough to keep your ears and face warm and protected. A spare pair of clothing can also help. Boots can also come in handy as they protect your feet and allow you to move through the snow and ice. In the summertime boots can be added protection for your feet as well.
0 Degree Sleeping Bag
Keeping a sleeping bag tucked away can be a lifesaver when you are stranded. These types of sleeping bags are made for warmth in cold weather and can save your family’s lives during an emergency.
Pulling together these emergency items and having them in your vehicle will give you confidence as you travel. Don’t forget to print our Tools for Surviving Winter Weather Driving Checklist and check out our Winter Weather Preparedness Center for more helpful tips.