Growing up in Georgia, the occasional snow/ice storm was a treat. It meant no school and time to play outside, sit inside and catch up on movies and TV shows or sleep. Fast forward to adult life and living in Washington, D.C., I’ve found snow days aren’t the way they used to be. When I moved here, I realized people in fact still function when snow/ice happens because of an abundance of salt trucks and snowplows.
It wasn’t until I started working at the Red Cross that I realized I need to be prepared. Prepared in my home, my workplace and yes, even in my car. I realized when I commuted on roads in wintery conditions, it was silly (and sort of stupid) to not have a winter weather kit in my car. So now, for the times when I do have to head into work, I’ve taken measures to make sure I have everything I need. Like, who knew you needed cat litter or sand in your car to make sure you can get out of a slick spot? Not this Georgia girl!
For those that say, “Nah, I don’t need that! I’ve got a snow scraper and four-wheel drive!” I’ve got news for you — think again! Make sure you at the very least have these things in the back of your car to keep you safe during winter months:
- Cell phone car charger
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
- Fleece hat, gloves, scarf
- Sand or cat litter
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- First aid kit
- Hand-crank weather radio
Once you have your car kit assembled, there are some extra handy tips to help take winter preparedness to the next level. Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council member Jim Judge has two additional tips in a new article:
- Keep emergency car kit in your back seat, so you can access it if your trunk freezes closed.
- Put batteries in backward to conserve battery power (and then, of course, remember to switch them back when you need to use it).
For a complete list of other ideas for your car kit, check out this handy emergency kit list.