Whether planning for a long trip or just a quick stop at the store to pick up the coveted storm essentials of bread and milk, a winter-weather emergency kit is a must have. Being prepared is more than just checking road conditions and weather forecasts.
Growing up in Michigan, my father wouldn’t let me out of the house during the winter months without making sure I had a list of items in my car and promised to fill the gas tank on the way to my destination. And, considering I found myself stuck in a snowdrift along a country road on more than one occasion, I am glad he did.
According to ready.gov (and Dad), here are some items you should keep in your emergency kit for the car:
— Jumper cables
— Flares or reflective triangle
— Ice scraper
— Car cell phone charger
— Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
— Small shovel
— First aid kit
— Hat, gloves and snow boots
Jumper cables are a good thing to carry with you year-round but your chances of ending up with a dead battery increase significantly in cold weather. According to the AAA Automotive Research Center, a vehicle’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength at zero degrees and 35 percent at 32 degrees.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers also keep their windshield wiper fluid reservoir full of high-quality “winter” fluid with de-icer and install heavy-duty winter wipers to help keep your windshield clear.
For more information on building emergency kits, visit www.ready.gov.