When discussing winter travel preparedness, drivers must consider their personal needs, as well as making sure their automobile is ready to face unforeseen conditions. While avoiding driving in known hazardous conditions is the wisest choice, storms may strike with little or no warning. Likewise, driving may be necessary. Time spent in preparation is your best defense. If winter weather deteriorates, the prepared driver is less likely to panic and stress out. Panic and stress are leading factors in making the wrong choice during an emergency.
Preparing Your Automobile:
Before frigid temperatures set in, have your vehicle prepared for winter driving. As part of your regular auto maintenance, have the battery condition checked. Cold weather and a weak battery can leave you stranded. Likewise, winter demands a greater use of lights, so make sure they're working properly. Make sure the tire tread is adequate for the conditions you will be driving in. Also, make sure all belts and hoses are checked along with routine maintenance. During winter, you must have a vehicle that will start and not leave you stranded with mechanical failure. Don't forget to have the cooling system fluid checked. Drivers should keep the gas tank at least half full, to avoid gas line freeze. Additive in the gas tank can also keep moisture from freezing in the lines.
Emergency Travel Supplies:
Drivers should consider emergency travel supplies as an essential part of preparing their car for winter driving. Every driver should consider their personal needs, when preparing emergency supplies. But remember, You can last 3 weeks with little to no food, but you can only last 3 days without water, and only 3 hours without adequate warmth.
If you have a mechanical breakdown, or become stuck..... many people die each year when they attempt to leave their vehicle during a storm. Do not leave your vehicle, in search of help. Your best chance of rescue is to stay with your vehicle. Do not panic. Tie a red bandanna to your automobile antenna as a signal for help.
Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running.....Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
Here's a list of the essentials you should make sure are in your vehicle.
Keep some extra clothing in the car, you may have to dress in layers at some point, also if the clothes you're wearing get wet you will have to change, wearing wet clothes in a freezing situation can be a killer.
Have a flashlight, battery powered radio, and extra batteries.
Keep some granola bars in the car, or other kinds of non perishable high energy foods. If you become stranded beside the road during a storm you could be there for a while. The bars will keep your energy levels up, keeping you warmer.
Have a knife, this is the most valuable life saving tool you can keep in the car.
Candles, water proof matches, and a wide base can to hold the candle, besides light, it will give off heat.
Bottled water, you must stay hydrated.
If you have to have special medications, pack enough extra in the event you are stranded away from home.
A shovel , flares, kitty litter, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, and tow rope are a must.
Something I keep in my SUV is one of those little folding Sterno stoves, with a few extra cans of the Sterno gel fuel ...also remember the can I mentioned above ...it can serve extra duty...by placing snow and ice in it ,you can get fresh water by melting it on top of the stove....never eat snow/or ice to get fresh water....always melt it first. Also a good thing to have is a colander in the car to strain the snow.
Something else I keep the glove box is pencils, paper, and a compass.....If heaven forbid you do end up having the hike back to a populated area, it will help you keep your bearing.
These are only my suggestions, you know your personal situation better than I...so include those items you think you may need.......