Pack Your Vehicle with These Emergency Supplies to Avoid a Winter Weather Crisis
The first major round of snow and ice has reached the Middle Tennessee area, and road crews are busy salting Nashville’s highways and interstates. If you must get out and drive after snow and ice accumulate on the roadways, you’re not only at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident, you can also be at risk of being involved in an emergency if you get stuck or stranded far from home.
WKRN.com reports that AAA and American Red Cross published a list of items that all drivers should have in their vehicles to stay safe until help arrives if their vehicles become disabled or stuck in snow. And as many drivers in the South know, it’s not always deep snow that causes vehicles to become stuck, as winter weather can result in miles-long traffic jams that last for hours or even days.
A spokesperson with Nashville AAA says that people often think about driving during winter weather the same way they think about it on normal days, but weather can change fast and people should be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
What Should You Pack in Case of a Winter Driving Emergency?
Although people getting stranded or stuck in traffic for long periods of time is rare, it does happen. In fact, thousands of people were left stranded on interstates in Atlanta in January 2014 after a major snowstorm.
Some of the most important items to pack in your vehicle include:
- Sleeping bag and extra winter clothing
Winter weather brings freezing temperatures, which can drop to dangerous levels during the evening and overnight. You can’t always count on your heater to work for a long period, especially if your vehicle becomes completely disabled or runs out of gas. Thick, warm blankets and winter-appropriate clothing stored in your vehicle for you and your family members can be the difference between life and death.
- Water, nonperishable food, and essential medications
It’s important to prepare for the possibility of being stranded in your vehicle for a long period, whether it’s a few hours, overnight, or longer. A large case of bottled waters and nonperishable snacks that are high in calories can help keep your energy levels up until the storm subsides, the traffic jam clears, or emergency responders reach your location. Finally, you should also take along any essential medications if you’re driving in the snow—even a short distance—as you may be unable to get them if you get stuck.
- Cell phone, charger, and flares/reflectors
Communicating with others, whether it’s family members, 911 dispatchers, and emergency responders, can help save your life in a winter weather emergency. Make sure you leave home with your cell phone, a car charger, and even a portable battery pack. Flares and reflectors can also help you flag down passersby and rescue crews if your vehicle becomes stuck in a remote area or you need assistance in a blinding snowstorm.
- Ice scrapers, tire chains, and jumper cables
If your vehicle gets stuck or becomes disabled, you may be able to restart it or get traction, but only if you have the right equipment. Ice can quickly form on windows and block your view, so keep an ice scraper or two inside your vehicle to clear it. Tire chains can help your tires gain traction in thick snow, while jumper cables will revive a dead battery caused by cold weather.
AAA and the American Red Cross also recommend packing hand warmers, a first aid kit, and a deck of cards or other game to keep yourself entertained and occupied while you wait out the storm or traffic jam.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident lawyers knows that winter driving is dangerous for several reasons, but one of the biggest risk factors is other drivers failing to slow down and exercise caution.
If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Find out how we can assist you by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.