Thursday, February 13, 2014

Important Car Winter Preps Often Overlooked

A man in Kansas lost all his feet toes after walking for an hour in the snow wearing only dress shoes. As I read the article (link), I wondered how many people could have easily been caught in the same situation.
Some people do keep an emergency kit of some sort in their cars. Usually this is some kind of basic car breakdown kit or of bug out bag.
The first thing that always seems to be forgotten is water. I’m always amazed by finding how much people have filters or purifying pills, but no actual water! A large jug or a few bottles of water are one of the most useful things you can have in your car. It can be used for everything from cleaning up a wound, washing your hands and face and of course drinking. Not long ago I used some to help a friend with an overheating radiator. There’s no reason not to have a couple gallons of water. I find that having a bigger jug and a few smaller bottles is the most handy setup. Just by saving on the bottled water you would otherwise buy on the go, the water in your car will save you a few bucks.

Second, most folks just don’t seem to keep a spare set of clothes in their car. I keep a complete set of spare clothes for each family member in my vehicle, good warm clothes so as to change into something comfortable along with some well-worn shoes. Those of us with kids know how easily they can get their feet, including socks and shoes wet. It happens to adults too. Your clothes can get soaking wet during a storm, you can get them torn and bloody after an accident, someone can throw up on you (babies and sick people alike) or spill a drink, or you may one day have to walk back home and all you are wearing is a suit and thin dressing shoes or a skirt and high heels.  There’s just so many possible scenarios where you might find a spare set of clothes invaluable, you should always have a spare set in your vehicle. 

These days with the kind of weather we’ve been getting, it is especially important that you have a spare set of winter clothes, including jacket, fleece cap or hat and gloves along with good boots in case you have to walk back home. If you don’t have them already, just grab an empty bag, fill it up and put it in your car now. You’ll thank me when you need it.
Take care folks and stay safe out there!



h&c said...

here's what works for me...and, yes,
i've been there and done that:
1. water. 3 quart minimum.
2. flashlights. not just one.
3. walking shoes (clothes).
4. blankets. plural.
5. hard candy. any kind.

Cindy said...

It's difficult to keep water in your vehicle in cold weather climes. It just freezes solid. Then it usually splits the jug open and you have a mess. Any suggestions for us.

Don Williams said...

1) Ferfal has excellent advice. Here in Philadelphia we have suffered several snow storms recently. Last week, the electrical grid was down for 3 days -- 4 days for some people.
And estimated 1.5 million people were without power due to ice storms/downed trees/power lines.

2) My electricity stayed on but several nearby friends were affected. Best to have plenty of washed underwear and clothing in such conditions --as well as washed dishes. While down sleeping bags and parkas can protect in above zero weather , the Coleman camping stove hooked into a large propane tank with an adapter is invaluable for cooking.

3) Yesterday and last night we had about 15 inches of snow/ice. This morning, there were two crashes involving about 40 cars on our main transportation corridor -- the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The need to evacuate 30 injured drives shut the Turnpike down for hours and backed traffic up for miles.

4) The point being that you never know when you will be trapped in such a gridlock for 8 hours or more in freezing temperatures. Having a blanket in the trunk of your car, some water and food can help a lot --especially at night.

5) When the power was out, I saw electrical repair trucks from MAINE here in the area. That's 500 MILES away.

When a disaster occurs in one part of the USA , the rest of the country pitches in to help. So our experiences today are deceptive -- conditions would be FAR worse if a disaster was to strike every place in the USA at the same time.

Don Williams said...

PS Ferfal's past suggestions for handling power blackouts -- an ice chest with freezer packs and LED headlamps with rechargeable batteries -- were useful as well.

Don Williams said...

Note also that natural disasters hit the poor much more severely than the middle class or the rich.

If you are a professional, you may be able to stay home in a snowstorm and work with a computer over the Internet (telecommuting). If you are working minimum wage in a service job (department store or fast food) then you need to get up at 5 am to shovel your driveway to get to work.

If you are poor you are compelled to risk driving on icy roads. But if you are in a wreck , the low payment from the insurance company for your 10 year old car will not pay for a suitable replacement. And God help you if you are injured and taken to the hospital without insurance to pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

It's surpisingly simple: you should have half empty bottles (so it has space to freeze).