Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is your car ready for Winter?

I had to stop driving my car for a while...
the tires got dizzy.
- Steven Wright
Winter is a bad time for cars. Once I skidded into snow on the shoulder of a road and could not get my car free. A policeman stopped to watch but said he was not allowed to help push the car. (He could call a tow truck for me if I wanted.) Fortunately I was across the street from a Fire department and the firemen were willing to push the car free.

If I were not so lucky that day, I could have been stuck in my car for hours. Perhaps I was just driving to the corner grocery and didn't bother to wear a coat for so short a trip. It happens and that's a very cold mistake to make. Recently a trained professional in Alaska nearly died from exposure in his car. He drove off in a huff to escape wife/in-laws for a bit; he did not wear a coat or pack any supplies. His car slid off the road some 30 miles north of town and it was 3 days before he was found. He survied on frozen beer and ran the car just an hour or so a day to keep from freezing but not run out of gas.

In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car. This kit should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
  • Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
Also consider:
  • A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
Bottom Line

Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.

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