By Marcia Conard
PACK YOUR CAR WITH A WINTER EMERGENCY KIT!
On those quick trips around town we don’t think about it as much, but if you commute a distance to work or plan on a trip or any type of longer drive, it’s a good idea to travel with a winter emergency kit. It may be sunny with dry roads when you start your drive, but weather can change quickly and before you know it the weather is blustery cold, snowing, and there are patches of ice on the pavement.
Before leaving home, let someone know your plans.
- Where you are going.
- What route you are taking.
- A contact and phone number at your destination.
- When you expect to return.
No matter if you are running errands or leaving on a trip, it is important to keep your tires well inflated. Your tires can lose 1 – 2 pounds of pressure for every degree of temperature change. Carry a tire pressure gauge so you can check your tires if your tire pressure warning light comes on.
It is also a good idea not to let your gas tank go below one-half tank especially when travelling and to avoid gas line freeze-up. If you were to slide off the road and had to run the engine every so often for heat, you wouldn’t want to run out of gas right away. Also, when traveling, if you aren’t sure how far it is to the next gas station, you may want to stop and fill up instead of chancing that you will come to another station in time!
If you are stopped along the way due to weather conditions or you have slid off the road and you need to run the engine for heat every so often, first check to ensure the exhaust pipe(s) are not blocked by snow or something else to avoid a build-up of carbon dioxide inside your vehicle. Even if you have checked and cleared any potential obstruction, if it continues to snow, check again to ensure that the exhaust pipe(s) have not become blocked since you last checked.
Following are suggested items to pack in your emergency kit:
- Flashlight with extra batteries or a hand-crank flashlight
- Shovel (i.e. collapsible or folding snow shovel)
- Cell phone charger. Keep one in your car!
- Wool blanket
- Non-perishable snacks and water
- Duct tape
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Jumper Cables
- First Aid kit
- Ice Scraper
This is a minimal list. You should always make sure you travel with the proper clothing in case of emergency. For instance, take a warm coat, gloves, hat, scarf, and boots. Pack hand warmers in your emergency kit along with a disposable rain poncho. Some people even throw a sleeping bag in the trunk!
Additional items you may want to carry:
- A bag of sand or kitty litter to help with traction. If you don’t have either, use the floor mats out of your car.
- A votive candle and a lighter or matches. This can provide light and warmth.
- Small fire extinguisher.
- Jack and lug wrench to change a tire.
- Foam tire sealant for small tire punctures.
- Spare change and cash
- Battery operated or hand-crank radio
A couple other tips:
- It is important to keep the windshield, back glass, and windows clear of ice and snow. Start by keeping the roof of your vehicle cleaned off. By rubbing a small, moistened, cloth bag of iodized salt on the outside of these glass surfaces, you can prevent the snow and ice from sticking.
- To keep your inside mirrors and glass surfaces from fogging up, use shaving cream. Simply spray it on and wipe it off with paper towels. (This works on your bathroom mirrors too!)
- Try not to do long distance driving when you aren’t feeling well. From a medical standpoint, your reaction time can be greatly reduced even more so than from moderate alcohol intake.
Winter can be a beautiful season to enjoy as long as we dress for the weather and take precautions to be prepared for winter emergencies. Enjoy your winter and travel safe!!
Marcia Conard is a life-long resident of the Blue Water Area. Marcia has an Associate of Science Degree from St. Clair County Community College. Marcia was licensed by the Federal Government as a Customhouse Broker and worked in Management and as a Director for over 30 years in the Customs Brokerage business. Marcia has two grown sons also living and raising families in the Blue Water Area. Marcia joined the Grant Smith Health Insurance Agency as the Operations Manager in May, 2017.