This past Thanksgiving, it was estimated that 43.6 million Americans traveled during the holiday weekend, with the average miles traveled being 588. Of those traveling, 87 percent of them were traveling by car. With the Christmas season coming fast, those traveling numbers will probably increase. When traveling long distances, especially with harsh winter conditions, it is important to be prepared to ensure your family’s safety.
Traveling in the extreme cold or snow is very dangerous, and if you are not prepared for the worst, it could be detrimental to you or your family. Icy or snow covered roads, limited visibility, and low temperatures make traveling long distances a hard task. If your car breaks down in a remote area in the extreme cold with snow on the ground, it will be more difficult for emergency personnel to get to your aid quickly. Even short term exposure to the low temperatures can have long lasting effects. Due to these factors, you should always be prepared in the event of an accident.
The first thing you should do is purchase a winter car emergency kit. This kit could be a life saver and will have many useful items in case your vehicle breaks down. One of these kits can contain items like tow rope, collapsible shovel, ice scraper, tire inflator, flashlight, signal cone, blanket, gloves, and hand warmers. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the contents and how to use each item. Keep this kit in your vehicle at all times in a place that it can be easily retrieved.
Never leave your vehicle in the event you break down. Your vehicle will provide you protection from the cold, and it is much easier to spot a stranded vehicle than a person walking through the snow.
Find something to keep you warm. Grab the blanket from your winter car emergency kit or grab warm clothing from your suitcase if you are traveling. Bundle up and stay inside of your vehicle.
Run the vehicle periodically for a short amount of time for heat. However, crack the window slightly to provide circulation of fresh air into the vehicle to avoid dangerous fumes from being locked into the car.
Keep moving! There may not be much room in your vehicle, but you need to do whatever you can to keep the blood flowing in your body. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and move around as much as you can.
Make your vehicle as visible as you can. If your kit has road flares or reflective triangles put them out as a distress signal. If it is not snowing, you can put your hood up, as it is the universal distress signal.
If you are planning on traveling this coming holiday season, be sure to keep these tips in mind. If you do not already have a winter car emergency kit, make sure you get one because it could save your life!