Many of us will encounter harsh winter weather at some point
this year. Whether we’re commuting to work, going out to eat or attending a
school function, driving in dangerous conditions is often inevitable.
Besides being aware of current conditions and the weather forecast, it’s important to have the right supplies on hand if you find yourself and your vehicle in a hazardous situation. Being prepared may be the difference between getting to your destination safely or risking injury and damage to your vehicle. The following are winter travel tips and a checklist of supplies to keep in your vehicle from the American Red Cross, CDC, and ready.gov.
- Have a cell phone on hand, with a car charger and/or portable phone power bank. One unique solution is Schumacher’s RedFuel Lithium-Ion Jump Start System, which can jump start your vehicle in an emergency and also power anything with a USB cable.
- In order to stay alert and have the energy to handle the situation, keep extra water and some snacks in the vehicle. A first aid kit is a must, and an emergency kit like this 10-piece Sterno set can provide warmth in extreme situations. Waterproof matches and a roll of paper towels are also good to keep on hand as well.
- Keep a set of booster cables on hand in case you or another vehicle needs a jump-start
- If your vehicle becomes stuck, store a small shovel and a bag of sand somewhere in the car. The shovel can help you dig out around your vehicle and the sand can be used for both extra weight as well as traction when poured on the ground under your tires.
- A tow strap is one of the most useful items to keep in the vehicle and one of the easiest to store. It can be used for another vehicle to pull you out of a ditch or snow bank or, if your vehicle is capable, pull someone else out of a dangerous situation.
- Tires, especially those in poor condition, may not hold up well in harsh conditions. It’s best to either use winter tires or make sure your current tires are in good shape for the winter months. In case of a flat or loss of traction, keep a can of tire repair sealant or portable inflator and tire chains in the trunk.
- It’s a good idea to keep a small tool set of common, useful tools such as vise-grip pliers, assorted wrenches, and screwdrivers on hand in case you need to make a small repair in order to keep going. Also include an ice scraper and a bottle of windshield de-icer to clear your windshield if visibility is poor.
- Much of this list can be kept organized in a duffel bag and stashed away in your trunk until needed.