Do you remember last winter in Atlanta GA when the 2 inches of snow hit the ground and it turned into chaos? I remember being at the gym and seeing the images on TV of people abandoning their vehicles. My initial thought was, “good grief I’m glad I’m not stuck in that”. But then I wondered “what if I was? Would I be prepared if it happened to me?”
Many times we may get the image of a problem in the winter of our vehicle being stuck on a back country road somewhere. For Metro Detroiters this is not a likely occurrence, but we easily could get stuck in suburban areas or the highway in a major jam on those worst winter days. Think about it for a second – when do bad things happen? At just the wrong time! -right? When the weather is bad winter crews are backed up all over the area. Tow trucks can’t get to everyone; even emergency responders have a hard time getting to those in dire need. We can do a few things to be prepared this winter with a little bit of forethought…
The number for your roadside assistance service
This may be simple but if you slide off in a ditch somewhere you’re going to be rattled a bit. Having this clear in your mind will pay off when you need it most; put the number in your phone ahead of time.
If you get stuck you may be able to dig yourself out if it’s not too bad
Road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
You can use this to spread out around your tires for traction
Flashlight with extra batteries
It seems like every time I go to get my flashlight at home I find one of my kids has been playing with it and the batteries are dead, ugh! Get a flashlight just for your vehicle. Load the batteries in backwards to avoid them discharging or store them in a separate location in your car.
Battery powered radio
If your power dies in your car you’ll have no radio. A battery powered radio can keep you in touch with what’s going on around you.
A Life source it self – the most important thing you can pack.
Snack food including energy bars
Nothing to do but wait for help? What else is there to do? Eat! Most people in these situations eat their rations too fast. Make sure that you pack more than enough in your emergency kit. Every 6 months or so take them out and eat them – replace with new. These can include candy bars, protein bars or any high density nutrition packed non perishable foods.
Matches and small candles
One does not realize how much heat a small candle can give off in a close area. If your car’s engine dies, you’ll have no heat. A couple of small candles can take the edge off.
Blankets or sleeping bag
Obviously in the winter it’s going to get cold quick. Make sure you pack a blanket of some sort.
Extra hats, socks, mittens and hand / feet warmers
Around 60% of your body heat escapes through your head. Hat’s make sense to have on board. Sporting goods stores sell hand warmers. Buy a bunch that you can put in your mittens or pockets; they’ll help keep you warm.
If you’re on any medications that are vital to your health such as insulin, be sure to pack extra doses.
First aid kit
Small medical issues can be handled with a basic first aid kit.
I don’t know about you but it seems like when I’ve needed a jump in the past that’s when I didn’t have the cables in the car! If you have booster cables put them in the car.
Car cell phone charger
Dead cell phones are of no use in an emergency; make sure you’ve got a way to charge up!
You can store some of the smaller items in the coffee can to help keep things organized. If you do get stuck in your car for 12 hours the coffee can will serve as a…. well let’s just say you’re gonna have to go sooner or later!!!
By Bill Adams
The Kennedy Nemier Insurance Agency