Earlier this month, hundreds of drivers were stranded for more than 24 hours on I-95 in Virginia after a snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow in the area, leading to jackknifed tractor-trailers and hundreds of other accidents. Traffic was at a standstill until state officials were able to clear several hundred vehicles off of I-95.
Carmel Church, VA – Drivers waiting for traffic to clear. Steve Helber, Associated Press.
So – what should you have in your car in case you get stuck?
Ice scraper, brush, and snow shovel - to clear off snow and ice from your windows, and get traction for your tires
First aid kit - basics should include: first-aid manual, band-aids and other wound care items, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, scissors, disposable instant cold packs, and a thermometer
Car blanket - consider features such as whether it is waterproof, how much it weighs, how much heat it generates, and the type of fabric
Water - it’s never good to be dehydrated!
Winter-ready toolbox that includes a screwdriver, wrench, duct tape, etc.
Flashlight w/ extra batteries
Car cell phone charger
Empty gas can
Flares, reflective triangles, or other bright objects
Click here for Consumer Reports’ review of several winter car emergency kits, all priced between $50 and $85.
Follow these car safety tips:
Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages. A full tank will also keep the fuel line from freezing. In the winter, you may want to get into the habit of refilling while there is still a quarter or a half of a tank left.
Install good winter tires if you have them. Make sure your tires have enough tread, and check if any chains or studs are required/legal in your local area.
If it becomes hard to control the car – pull over, stop the car, and set the parking brake.
If the emergency could affect the stability of the roadway – avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs, and other hazards.
Click here to understand the differences between a Winter Storm Warning, Watch, and Advisory and learn the signs and treatments of frostbite and hypothermia.
Winter Car Supplies Resources:
Click below to download our infographic: