When winter approaches, car owners should start thinking of the essential accessories that their vehicle needs to safely make it through the bad roads. Antifreeze, snow tires and jumper cables are high on the list of priorities. These will see your car safely while it is actually plowing through the snow and ice. What if the car slides and becomes stuck? These important accessories could save your life.
1. A Small Shovel: Place a small shovel in the car’s trunk or storage area. Camping shovels that fold down are ideal. They do not take up much space and they are small enough to reach under the car tires to dig out the snow encase you get stuck. The shovel can also be carried to help steady yourself, or as protection, if you end up having to walk in an isolated area.
2. Sand or Cat Litter: Sand or cat litter will give you a small amount of traction if you get stuck on an icy hill during the winter. Spread the sand or cat litter out in front of the tires. Carrying the bags of sand or cat litter will add weight to your vehicle which will also help you to hold traction. Merely having it in the trunk may save you from needing it.
3. Cell Phone Charger: A cell phone charger that slides into the cigarette lighter is an important accessory for winter driving. You may be on the road longer than your cell phone battery holds a charge, if you must go slowly. Plugging the cell phone into the car charger insures that you will be able to contact someone for help or to let them know where you are.
4. Coveralls: If you are stuck with a stalled engine and are getting cold having a pair of heavy insulated coveralls to put on will keep you warm as you sit and wait. They will also keep you warm and dry if you have to dig yourself out of a ditch or change a tire. Sets of coveralls can be purchased as a one piece zip up or as pants and a coat. These are very important accessories whether you have to get out and dig or if you have to walk.
5. Flash Lights and Batteries: Stock your winter accessory kit with several small flashlights and a package of batteries. If your car battery goes dead you will have no headlights are tell lights to let other cars know you are there. Turn the flashlights on and lay them on your hood and trunk.
They will also help you to see if you are digging your car out. If you have children with you, allowing them to hold a flashlight as they sit and wait may relieve their tension as well. Walking is not advisable, but if it is necessary, the flashlights will help you to see where you are going and will warn other motorists that you are there.
6. Disposable Hand Warmers: Some say these are bad for the environment, but if you are stuck in a snowstorm and cold, do you really care? You can tuck these into your gloves, under your coat or in your shoes to help keep you warm. If you have a baby or small child with you, it will be a relief to be able to keep them warm until help arrives if you cannot run the car’s engine.
7. Hot Coffee or Hot Chocolate: It doesn’t matter if you intend to drink it or not, it will be there if you need it. If you are stuck in sub zero weather waiting for someone to come help you, a thermos of hot coffee or hot chocolate will help to keep you warm two ways.
You can drink the hot beverage or you can nestle the warm thermos close to you. If you are planning a long trip in bad weather conditions, always fill a thermos with a hot beverage to take with you, just in case you need it.
8. Plastic Bags: Bread wrapper bags are an important accessory to your car’s winter kit. They do not take up much room and can be used for several things in an emergency. You can use them as hand and arm protectors while you dig with the shovel. They will help keep you dry if it is snowing.
If you must walk put the bread bags over your socks and then put your shoes back on. The bread bags will protect your feet from the cold and wet better than perhaps the dress shoes you have on. You can also put the flashlight inside the bread sack to protect it from the rain, sleet or snow.
9. Energy Snack Bars: Eating will help to keep you warm in case the car has stalled and you must wait for help. Couple the energy snack bar and the thermos of coffee or chocolate and you will be able to wait in the cold a little more comfortably. Having snack bars will also pacify children that become bored, cold and hungry.
10. Extra Gloves: People tend to drive in tight fitting thin gloves. They may protect your hands from the cold steering wheel, but will do little against the winter elements. Toss several pair of heavy insulated gloves in the trunk or glove box of the car. You will be glad to have extra dry gloves if you are digging the car out of the ditch, or if you have to walk to get help.
You can slide the heavy gloves on over the driving gloves for extra warmth. If you must walk, take an extra pair of dry gloves with you. Keep them in your coat pocket just in case the ones you are wearing get wet. Being able to change to a dry pair of gloves may protect your hands from frost bite.
This may sound like a lot of unnecessary accessories, or even foolish to you, but you will be glad you packed them into your car if you find yourself in a ditch in a snow storm. Be prepared and be safe!
Winter Driving Tips
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