It's an important subject to me because I have a getting-stuck-in-bad-weather story too. A few years ago I was on my long commute home from work with one of the Farm Kids, who was still a baby, in the car. It was raining and then there was a sudden, significant drop in temperature and the interstate became a sheet of ice in a matter of about a minute. I watched as every single vehicle in front of me slid off the interstate. We weren't far from an exit and I really didn't want to just pull over on the interstate for fear someone (perhaps in a semi) would slide into us. So I gripped the steering wheel, crawled along, and prayed like crazy. We miraculously made it to the exit and found a place to park. We were only about 15-20 minutes from our town under normal driving conditions, but I knew there was no way we'd make it. We were very fortunate, we waited it out for awhile, (singing nursery rhymes and playing with everything in the car!) and in about 3-4 hours we were safely in our warm house. It was a little nerve-wracking but I was so thankful first of all that God had answered my prayers and we were safe and then that we had food, water, warm and dry clothes, blankets, everything we would need if we had to be out there for awhile.
So, better late than never, here's my Winter Survival Car Kit:
-Blankets and/or warm sleeping bags
-A first aid kit (actually, never take this out of the car)
-Battery powered radio and flashlight (BUT you need to be sure to have fresh batteries with you because the cold will cause batteries to drain quickly)
-Lots of warm clothes. Hats, mittens, coats, socks, boots, snow pants, whatever you can gather up.
-Food. Stuff that will keep in the car, and if you bring canned food, don't forget the can opener.
-Plastic bags. In my case they were great to have for diapers, but you never know what you'll need them for.
-Candles and matches
-Cat litter to help get traction if you get stuck.
-Shovel, ice scraper, and brush
-Jumper cables (again, just leave these in your car)
-Ideally, flares or a reflective triangle, but at the very least a piece of bright colored (red is best) cloth that you can tie to an antennae to attract attention from work crews or rescue personnel.
-Car charger for your cell phone
-If you have children, be sure to pack for them too. Clothes, diapers, wipes, food/drink that is age appropriate, toys or books, and children's first aid supplies
A couple other important things to remember: if you run the heater in your car to keep warm, only run it for about 10 minutes each hour, roll a window down a little and make sure your exhaust pipe isn't covered in snow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. It is usually best to stay in your vehicle rather than trying to walk anywhere, unless you are absolutely certain there is a safe building very close. It's easy to get disoriented in blowing snow. Also, really try to keep your gas tank at least half full. When I used to make that commute, that meant getting gas every other day, which was kind of a pain, but I think it's worth it.
Did I miss anything? What do you keep in your car for emergencies?
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