Prepare for Icy Weather with a Winter Car Safety Kit

I blogged yesterday about the perils of putting too much trust your car's GPS, and how a Nevada couple would have been in a potentially deadly situation if not for their well supplied emergency kit. All year, and particularly in hazardous winter weather such as the snow and ice we just had here in Atlanta, an emergency safety kit is a must have for all vehicles. In the event of small mishaps, they can save you from ruining your good clothes while trying to change a tire, and in case you are stranded in the snow for three days without aid or cellular signal, they may save your life.

But what should an effective emergency safety kit contain?

• Tire Chains - Make sure you understand how to put these on before leaving. Outside, at night, already stuck in a snow drift is not where you want to learn.

• Shovel - In case you need to dig yourself out of the snow.

• Sand or Cat Litter - Either may provide you with additional traction on slick surfaces.

• Ice Scraper - So you will be able to clear the ice from your windows to maintain visibility.

• Jumper Cables - To restart the engine, if it becomes necessary.

• Warm Clothes, Gloves, Jacket, Boots, Hat - It is very important to stay warm and safe. You may also appreciate the ability to change your clothes if you become stranded for days.

• Blankets - To keep warm inside the vehicle.

• Flashlight and Extra Batteries - So you can increase visibility in the dark, avoiding frustration, and to make yourself better visible to passersby.

• Nonperishable Food and Water - Enough of both for everyone in the car, including pets. If you are traveling with infants, baby formula or baby food will be important to remember. Nuts or energy bars are both good choices that are high in protein. Canned fruits can be another useful addition. When packing canned food, also be sure to include a can opener.

• First Aid Kit - In case of any injuries. Also be sure your first aid kit includes any medications you or your passengers may need.

• Cell Phone and Emergency Numbers - You may not be lucky enough to be stranded somewhere with service, but if you do have a signal, you will be glad you remembered your phone and could contact help immediately instead of waiting for it to find you.

• AM/FM Radio - So you can listen for weather and traffic reports.

• Other Things To Consider Include Chemical hand warmers, a disposable camera to gather evidence in the case of an accident, pen and paper, warning lights or flares, a hand crank cell phone charger, some cash money in small bills and change should you find a pay phone.

As drivers, we cannot predict all of the hazards we might face, but the better prepared you are when an emergency happens, the more likely you will be to be able to solve your problems or wait them out until help arrives.

If you are stranded in the snow, be safe and do not try to go for help. Stay warm and dry in your vehicle as much as you can, and wait for help to come to you.