If you think you don’t need a winter emergency kit, or that it will only take up space in your vehicle, think again. The Federal Highway Administration reports that about 24 percent of road accidents are weather-related. This increases in times of inclement weather, such as snow or ice. So if you live in places where there’s usually snow storms or chances of a blizzard, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
A winter emergency kit can ensure that a) you have enough to survive until help arrives, and that you would b) be alright should you find yourself stranded for hours.
Not sure how to begin assembling your winter survival kit? Here’s how to get started:
Winter Emergency Kit: The Essentials
Whether you’re a pro or novice driver, preparedness is your friend in times of crisis. You never know when Mother Nature can take a turn for the worst. One minute, everything’s a Winter Wonderland. Next thing you know, you’re stranded with large trucks and other vehicles for eight hours with nothing but crackers.
But if you have a winter emergency kit on hand, you know you’ll be okay. You can always buy pre-packaged kits from retailers. Feel free to add items to it based on the weather in your location or destination. The essentials should include:
- A first aid kit. Make sure it has band-aids, antibiotic ointments and antiseptics, aspirin, gauze pads, bug spray, cotton balls, bandages, tweezers, and a bandana.
- A toolkit. This should include items such as a flashlight, jumper cables, early warning triangles, flares, multipurpose tool, tire gauge, and duct tape.
- Bottled water and snacks. In the event of an emergency, you’re going to need energy to keep you going. If you can get your hands on MRE (meals ready-to-eat), the better.
- Blankets and extra clothing. When stranded, especially during a blizzard, temperatures can drop below freezing. If you didn’t anticipate being stuck, you could end up in indoor clothing. This is especially hazardous to children.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the best place to store your winter emergency kit is in the trunk of your vehicle. Get a container to pack everything in so you can access them in one go. Tie bungee cords around it to secure your survival kit.
Winter Emergency Kit: Add-Ons
You could be stranded on the road during bad weather for several reasons. You could experience equipment failure. Or maybe you had a minor collision with another vehicle or a truck, rendering your car useless and in need of roadside assistance. Perhaps you miscalculated the snow and ended in a huge traffic jam on the highway.
Want to be extra sure that you and your family won’t be in danger soon should you be stuck on the snowy road? Adding several items to your winter emergency kit is advised. Here are a few other things to bring:
- Fire extinguisher
- Small shovel and/or ice scraper
- Vehicle fluids (i.e. oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.)
- Clean and empty container (for water)
- Foam tire sealant (for repairing flats in a hurry)
- Gloves, rags
- Salt, cat litter (for ice)
Of course, don’t forget to carry a spare tire and cash. You could get stuck in areas where credit cards are not accepted. Having some form of entertainment, like a deck of cards or a good book also helps. If you were stranded due to a trucking accident, document the event if possible. Take pictures, get names and contact numbers of witnesses, and relay the information quickly to your loved ones. Let them know where you are.
After the ordeal, be sure to get in touch with a trucking accident attorney to help sort out your case.