SAFE IN 60

Safe in 60: Prepare Your Car For Winter Emergencies

Nov 26, 2018, 7:00 AM | Updated: Dec 3, 2018, 1:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Having your car break down is never fun, but having it break down during the winter months can be life-threatening.

Before you go out on the roads this winter, take stock of what’s inside your car and make sure you’re prepared for a blizzard or winter storm traffic jam.

Cold weather puts a strain on weak batteries. They are more likely to fail at low temperatures. Always carry jumper cables in your car. An emergency battery charger would also be valuable if you are stranded and there isn’t anyone around to help you.

Cellphone batteries also drain more quickly in the cold. It’s a good idea to always have a portable charger so you can reach someone in an emergency.

Here are other items you should consider carrying in your trunk during the winter months:

  • Blankets, extra layers of clothing, gloves and boots, in case you need to walk in the weather.
  • Tire chains and a tow chain or rope.
  • Flares or triangle reflectors.
  • A flashlight and extra batteries.
  • A folding shovel, in case you get stuck and need to dig yourself out.
  • Road salt, sand or even cat litter to help with traction. You can sometimes use a floor mat for this as well.
  • Water and snacks.
  • A first aid kit and basic tool kit.
  • A snow/ice scraper.
  • A multi-tool and a seat belt cutter and window breaker tool.
  • Matches or other fire starter.
  • A canned tire inflator and sealer, if for some reason you are unable to change the tire.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • An empty gas can.
  • Duct tape and WD-40, because there is always a use for these!

Now is also the time of year to check your car and make sure it’s ready for the winter.

  • Always keep a full tank of gas. You never know when you might find the road closed because of a blizzard or hazard and you don’t want to run out of gas in the cold while you wait for the road to open.
  • Check the levels of all the fluids in your vehicle, especially antifreeze ratios.
  • Test the health of your car battery.
  • Make sure your vehicle defroster and heater are working properly.
  • Check that the spare tire and jack are in good condition.
  • Make sure the manual is in the vehicle for reference.
  • Check your tires for appropriate tread and air pressure. Consider snow tires during the winter months.

This may seem like a lot of things to carry in your vehicle, but most of them don’t take up much room, and could be life-saving. It can also add weight in your trunk which helps with traction during winter driving as well.

You’ll find a more extensive winter preparedness checklist here.

Read more Safe in 60 stories from Lt. Robin Heiden at this link.

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Safe in 60: Prepare Your Car For Winter Emergencies