Yesterday, my in laws had their annual Tree cutting! It was 2 hours away from my home but tons of fun and worth the drive! Definitely a tradition I wouldn’t want to miss!! The perfect tree was picked, my SIL’s chilli warmed our bellies and remnants of homemade Christmas cookies were left on our shirt, all was left was the drive home. The weather changed from sun and chilly, to freezing rain, sleet and slippery conditions. As I drove along a treacherous stretch of the 401, alone with 3 children in tow, I thought back to the past summer and how I was stuck on this same stretch of highway for 4 hours. When I say stuck, I mean not moving an inch! A transport truck had flipped over blocking the on ramp and 3 lanes of the highway. We weren’t able to move until emergency crews had returned the transport truck to its wheels and moved it off the on ramp. Luckily, I had snacks, drinks and a stack of DVDs to entertain the kids. Because it was summer, I was able to shut off the car to save gas. My past history and the current weather conditions made me wonder if I was equipped to deal with the hazards of driving in a winter conditions. The answer is NO!
With holiday travel about to begin and the unpredictability of mother nature, it is important to review some important things you should have stalked in your car for such emergencies. The following are the top 5 items, I recommend you keep in your vehicle in case you ever find yourself in such a situation.
1. A Candle and Matches – This is one thing my Grammy insisted I have with me in my car at all times. I remember the first time I drove my car over to her house. She handed me a bag with “essential” driving supplies. Most of the items were the following on this list, but a candle and matches struck me as odd. My Grammy insisted that a Candle was important for 3 reasons: 1 It will provide you with warmth. 2 It would provide you with light. 3. You can use it to signal for help. In memory of my Grammy, this has to be number 1 on my list!
2. Blankets – It is ideal to keep several blankets in your trunk. If you are stranded, you might not be able to rely on your car heater to keep you warm. Try to keep enough blankets to be able to provide one blanket per passenger. If you are alone, you can always use the extra blankets for added protection.
3. Ice Scraper and Shovel – These two tools are a must! As I experienced yesterday, a day can go from sunny and bright to icy and cold. Its important to ensure that all of you windshield is cleared of ice and snow to provide the best visibility possible. A shovel is handy if you are plowed in while parked and need to dig yourself out or if you skid off the road into a snowbank. Although both tools are simple, they can easily turn a frustrating situation into a manageable situation.
4. Cell phone, extra battery and/or charger – The first thing you will want to do when you stranded is to call for help (i.e. CAA, a tow truck, or in my case my hero, MY HUBBY!). A cell phone is pretty standard these days. But if you have cell phone like mine, the battery tends to die at the exactly WRONG moment. Being prepared with extra batteries or a way to charge a dead phone is always a good idea.
5. First Aid Kit – First Aid kits can provide you with much need relief in the aftermath of an accident. It can allow you to clean and treat wounds, allowing you to be more comfortable. High calorie energy bars are also a good idea to keep in your first aid kit. You don’t know how long it will take for help to arrive, but its important to maintain strengthen
Those are my top 5 suggestions to what to included in your “Emergency Winter Traveling kit”. I would like to mention on more important rule about winter driving,
ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE HALF A TANK OF GAS. Your tank is always at 50% you will feel better if you are unsure when the next gas station is or if you get lost.
When traveling this holiday season, stay safe. Give yourself lots of extra time, drive carefully, watch out for the other guy and be prepared for any situation.