Preparing for the winter months doesn’t have to be stressful. IKO Community Management would like to share preparing your vehicle for winter storms. It could save your life and the lives of your passengers.
We usually have plenty of warning when a winter storm is approaching. If you should get caught out on the road during a storm there are a few important items you should have in your car. Creating a winter basket or box keeps everything together and make sure it is within reach. Storing items in the car itself will make your kit easily accessible in case the trunk becomes jammed or frozen shut.
Your emergency Survival Kit for winter should include the following items:
- A shovel.
- Windshield scraper and a small broom. Windshield scrapers can be purchased with a scraper on one end and a brush on the other.
- Flashlight with extra batteries. Did you know turning the batteries the wrong way while not in use can extend the life of your batteries?
- A battery powered radio.
- Water bottles.
- Snack food including energy bars. Chose small packages of food that can be eaten hot or cold.
- Matches and small candles.
- Extra hats, socks, and mittens.
- A first aid kit with a pocket knife.
- Any necessary medications.
- Blankets or a sleeping bag.
- A tow chain or rope.
- Road salt, sand, or kitty litter to help with traction.
- Jumper cables.
- Emergency flares and reflectors.
- Fluorescent distress flags and a whistle to attract attention.
- Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter. Did you know the American Red Cross makes a crank style cell phone charger for cell phones with USB ports?
Here are some guidelines for hazardous winter weather
- Always make sure your vehicle maintains a gas tank that is at least half full when deciding to travel in a winter storm. Check your antifreeze levels to make sure they are sufficient. Test your car to make sure the heater and defroster are in proper working order. Winter tires are just as important. Good winter tires with rugged threads allow for better traction. Remember, ice storms are dangerous no matter the shape of your tires!
- If you must drive in a winter storm, make yourself easy to find. Tell someone where you are going and the route you will be taking. If you should get stuck, tie a fluorescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out of a window. Keeping your dome light on inside the car at night will make it easier to be spotted. Rescue crews can see the small glow even from a distance. To reduce your battery from draining, use your emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. When traveling with passengers, be sure at least one person stays awake to keep watch for help at all times.
- Stay put! Stay in your vehicle instead of trying to walk to get help. Walking in a winter storm can be very dangerous as you may get lost or exhausted. The best shelter is your vehicle.
- Help will arrive! Do not over exert yourself trying to shovel or push your car out of a situation. This makes for a high risk of heart attack or injury. Becoming hot and sweaty will cause wet clothing making you susceptible to hypothermia.
- Remember, if you must run your car for warmth, do so in 10 minute intervals. Keep a window cracked open to allow fresh air to enter. During a winter storm, snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. It is better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy.
- Call 911 on your cell phone. If you know your location, provide as much information as possible. Let them know how many passengers you may have and the condition of everyone in the vehicle. Follow their instructions and stay where you are until help arrives. If you must leave your car, write down important information such as your name, address, phone number, and your destination. Place this on the windshield or somewhere visible for someone to see.
Winter storms can be dangerous, but with a little planning ahead, you will be prepared.IKO Community Management would like everyone to have a safe winter. If you do not need to travel during a storm, don’t. Sometimes travel is inevitable during a storm. Take your time if you do have to drive. Give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Give yourself space between you and other drivers. Pack your Winter Emergency Kit today so you will be ready for winter’s wrath during your travel times.