by Hunter Howard
The key to surviving any situation is preparation. If you’ve ever seen the show, Man vs. Wild on Discovery Channel then you know Bear Grylls is the king of this. Being proactive and expecting the worst-case scenario is usually the best route no matter if you’re playing the role of defensive driver or proactive shop owner. With the winter months knocking at our front door and the country expecting higher than average snowfall, it can be a helpful hint to remind your customers to keep a few things in their car in case of an emergency, as well as knowing and sharing a few tips that could very well save a life.
A basic winter survival kit is not difficult to make and can easily be modified to fit the owner’s needs. Common things that make up a good winter kit roadside emergency would include: something to keep you warm, food, something to signal people of your location and something to help you in typical cold weather roadside emergencies.
If you have room, a complete kit would look something like this.
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Battery powered radio
- Snack food including energy bars
- Raisins and mini candy bars
- Matches and small candles
- Extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Blankets or sleeping bag
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares and reflectors
- Fluorescent distress flag
A winter survival kit means next to nothing if you’re doing everything else wrong. Here are a few tips to make sure you and your customers stay safe in case of an emergency.
- Tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
- If stuck, tie a florescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you’re with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
- Stay in your vehicle. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
- Fresh Air: It’s better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.