Getting Ready for Winter: Part V: Your Vehicles

blizzard Colorado Blizzard of 2003

Last but definitely not least is your vehicle. It’s more than just transportation. It could be a lifesaver or a life taker.

 

Vehicle:

  1. Have your vehicle serviced. That includes oil change, filter changes as necessary, tire pressure checked, tires checked for tread worthiness. Replace worn parts. There’s nothing worse than having your vehicle break down in the middle of winter when you are 20 miles from home!
  2. Place a 72 hr survival kit in the car. That should include blankets, extra warm clothing, socks and waterproof boots, hats, gloves, etc. Also include in that kit, high energy foods that won’t freeze, water or juice, hard candy, extra meds if needed, a small sterno stove and sterno fuel (don’t use this inside your vehicle!! CO2 from a sterno stove is deadly!). Include matches or a lighter, kitty litter or sand, a tow rope, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries or a hand crank type flashlight. Garbage bags, tissue paper, feminine items (you just never know!!), and a can or pan to melt snow into water as needed.
  3. Keep a full bottle of windshield washer fluid in your vehicle. The kind that contains de-icer is best for cold winter months. 
  4. Keep a can of WD40 around. Don’t put it in your car. It’s a great mechanism for de-icing frozen car locks, but it won’t work if it’s locked inside your car! I carried a tote bag to and from work, carried it inside and put it under my desk. In it, was a can of WD-40. My office mates used to laugh until they saw me de-icing my car locks when theirs were frozen solid. And, yes, I took pity on them and shared my can of WD-40. I noticed other tote bags showing up at work. I always wonder if they followed my lead?
  5. Keep a  et of chains (if you’re able to put them on your car) in the vehicle.
  6. Make sure your tool kit is in the vehicle.
  7. Keep headlights and tail lights clean.
  8. Make sure your vehicle battery is in good shape. Excessive heat and cold are hard on older batteries. Replace as necessary.
  9. Flares: It doesn’t matter what kind, whether they’re reflector type or the old kind that looks like firecrackers. Have them handy.
  10. Consider having a “HELP!” sign to place in your windows. If not that, the universal code for help is a red flag or bandana or cloth tied to the antenna. That way, if you need help and are stranded in your vehicle, you will have a visible sign to your rescuers.
  11. Keep your cell phone charged.
  12. If you need to travel, always plan your route and let someone else know what your route is. Don’t deviate from it. If you have a breakdown, knowing where you might be could be a lifesaver if someone needs to trace your route. Try not to plan trips during extreme weather conditions if at all possible. Blizzards, white-outs, I’ve been unfortunate to have to travel across Montana and Wyoming in blizzard conditions and it was scary. I’ve traveled down I-70 through Colorado in the middle of a blizzard in December of 2003, couldn’t find a motel anywhere, was reduced to traveling 30 MPH during the lighter part of the blizzard, and had to spend the night at a rest area with snow piled 8 inches deep on top of my car the next morning. Frightening? Absolutely because I was alone. But, with these tips and tricks, I am blessed to be here to share this blog entry with you. Take care, be prepared, and be safe!
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