So you’ve got six month of food storage, a bug out bag for everyone in the family and a comprehensive medical kit in your closet, but do you have a cold-weather survival kit in your car? Disaster preparedness is not just limited to your home, and with a good chunk of winter left, your car should be equipped with the things need to survive should you have to spend the night in it in freezing temperatures.
It seems like every winter we hear on the news of someone who was not prepared for the winter who gets trapped in their car, or stuck in the snow, some of which end up with tragic ends. There are also the not so tragic stories you hear from friends, relatives, and co-workers of the windshield of ice they tried to scrape with their credit card, or how they broke their key off trying to open the trunk that had a frozen lock, or how it took them two hours to change a flat tire because they couldn’t see in the dark.
This holds true even if you don’t live in a region that routinely experience harsh winter weather. Freak storms and cold snaps have been known to happen, and are occurring in temperate areas more frequently these days.
When I was living in Flagstaff, AZ (which does get cold and snow in the winter) it seemed like there was a snowstorm at least once each year that would render long lines of cars immobile on the highway overnight. Sometimes, the authorities wouldn’t even let you through unless you had chains on your tires. Many people coming up from warmer parts of the state would invariably be unprepared for the winter weather and you always heard stories about folks who ran their cars out of gas, trying to keep warm.
Hand and Glove Warmers. These are great because you can put them into your socks or gloves. I once got stranded in Northern Maine, near the Canadian Border, and had a pack of these. I opened them all and stuck them under my shirt, they really helped get me through a miserable night.
Apart from all the usual stuff you should keep in your car for emergencies (a jack, tire iron, flashlight, food, water, roadside kit, flares, etc.) you should make sure you keep warm clothes, socks, gloves and a winter coat in your car (whether you think you’re going to need it or not). A warm blanket or sleeping bag in the trunk isn’t a bad idea either, or a couple of space blankets. Keeping your car running for several hours in order to keep the heat on isn’t very practical. You’ll want to keep that to a minimum (also remember to keep a couple of windows open just a crack to keep fresh air circulating).
You don’t have to be stuck in a blizzard to find yourself in serious trouble, either. A flat tire, or mechanical breakdown could leave you stranded for long periods of time. Hypothermia can set in FAST, and even in New England, I always see knuckleheads who go out in the freezing cold wearing shorts, flip-flops and a thin sweatshirt (not to mention the obligatory backwards baseball cap).
That’s what I call: “Too cool for school, but too stupid for the real world.” If he gets stranded, he’ll be turning as blue as his Patriots hat.
CLICK HERE to read some other good ideas for winter items to keep in your car.