December 29, 2023
Every year, with the onset of winter and the snowy, icy road conditions that go a long with it, comes an unfortunate increase in the number of accidents on the roads.
This year, make it a New Years Resolution to take winter road safety seriously. In this article we will go over a few essential items that should be in your vehicle at all times during the winter in case you need to spend any amount of time on the roadside in the dark and cold waiting for assistance to arrive.
Avoid the worst conditions.
The best way to prevent a road accident in the winter is to avoid the worst conditions altogether. Before you leave home you should ensure that your car is equipped with proper winter tires. Please avoid ‘all-season’ tires, as these are not designed for snow and ice but rather all the seasons of Southern California!
Check the weather forecast.
Check the forecast for both for your starting point and for your destination if you are going on a longer journey. If it looks like a storm is coming, ask yourself if you need to go immediately or if you can delay your departure to give yourself better driving conditions.
Ensure that your vehicles headlights and taillights are all working properly.
Even in clear conditions wind can blow snow across the roads and seriously reduce visibility. It is critical that you can see and be seen by others.
Pack your warmest winter clothing to bring with you.
It can be quite uncomfortable wearing a heavy winter jacket while driving, but it is important that you, and all your passengers have their winter coats, mittens, boots, and a toque at hand should an unfortunate situation arise. At our house we stuff all our gear into a gym bag and throw it in the trunk.
Always bring a water bottle or two along with you.
Remember that if you normally park your car outside that any water left in the vehicle will freeze and be very difficult to drink. Making a habit of grabbing a water bottle on the way out the door will ensure you have drinkable water when you need it.
Your winter roadside safety kit should always stay in your vehicle during the winter. If all goes well, you won’t need to touch it until you take it out again in the spring. If, however, you do need to use your kit, make sure that when you are safely home you inspect the kit and replace any items that were used.
Blankets or sleeping bags, and extra warm clothing
Your winter safety kit should have some warm blankets or sleeping bags, as well as even more warm layers than you have already brought with you. In our car we have insulated sleeping bags (you can find ones that pack up into quite small bags), wool socks, and thermal base layers (long underwear) for everyone. In case you are in a more serious situation where your car heater is no longer working after an accident you will need to stay warm until assistance arrives. If you are in a remote area with limited phone reception you could be waiting for some time for the next vehicle to pass. Bundle up with your winter coat, extra layers and warm blankets and try to conserve as much energy as you can.
Flashlight and extra batteries
These days everyone has a flashlight on the phone in their pocket, so why pack an extra one? In reality, the flashlights on our phones are great for seeing what’s right in front of us but don’t throw that much light. Invest in a good high-powered flashlight and some extra batteries.
Non-perishable, high-energy food
To stay warm in the winter your body consumes a lot of energy. Pack snacks that will stay good for the winter such as energy bars and nuts. In the event that you are stuck for many hours you will need to eat in order to stay alert and warm.
First Aid Kit
You can buy small first aid kits at any pharmacy that will include everything you need. If you are making your own kit, it should contain bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, medical tape, tweezers, disposable gloves, and antibiotic ointment.
Shovel and traction aids
Sometimes you will be able to get yourself back on the road if you have gone in the ditch by digging the snow out from under your wheels and then using a traction aid such as cat litter, sand, or specially designed tire traction aids. Look for a collapsable shovel to save space.
A pair of ice grips, such as ICETRAX are important to prevent a bad situation from getting worse. If you vehicle is in the ditch and you slip on ice and hurt yourself you will be in a really bad situation. Keep a pair of ice grips in your safety kit and put them on when attempting to shovel out your vehicle.
If you have gone off the road in the winter it is very possible that other passing vehicles may not even see your car. Flares can be placed on the roadside to alert other passersby to the situation.
Stay safe out there!
December 19, 2023
November 24, 2023
November 20, 2023