During the holiday season, the most important thing you can do is enjoy time with family and friends. If, like many Americans, you need to travel on the holidays, be sure you are prepared for the potential perils of winter driving.
In addition to making sure your car and tires are in tip-top shape, it’s a good idea to prepare a vehicle emergency kit before joining holiday traffic. While there are plenty of pre-packaged emergency kits available on the market, by building your own kit, you can tailor it to the weather conditions in your area, include items that suit your family and always know exactly what it contains, because you assembled it.
Below are some essentials you should consider including in your own winter driving emergency kit.
- First Aid Kit
Car accidents are never planned. Being prepared for unexpected injuries, especially those that involve blood loss, can make a tremendous impact on an emergency situation while waiting for first responders to arrive. In the event of a wreck, time is of the essence and effectively treating a small injury can sometimes reduce the risk of it becoming a serious injury. A good basic first aid kit should include:
- Ace bandage
- Gauze pads
- Cotton balls
- Aspirin (or similar)
- Bug spray
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hand sanitizer
It should go without saying that car trouble isn’t exclusive to daylight hours. For those crucial moments when you need to check your engine, change a flat or examine the exterior of your vehicle when it’s dark outside, be sure to have a reliable flashlight handy. It’s also a good idea to have extra flashlight batteries nearby to ensure you’re never left in the dark.
- Multipurpose Tool
The potential for roadside problems is vast, so it’s a good idea to have a multi-faceted tool available that can adapt to a variety of dilemmas. In addition to multi-purpose tools that are equipped with pliers, screwdrivers, scissors and blades, there are also tools that combine emergency tools such as window breakers and seat belt cutters to help in truly harrowing situations.
- Fire Extinguisher
When choosing a fire extinguisher for your car, there’s no need for an industrial-sized model. Pick something small but effective.
- Jumper Cables
It’s never pleasant to be stranded away from home with a dead car battery, but being stuck in the bitter cold without any power can be a very dangerous situation. Jumper cables are a non-negotiable item in any car emergency kit.
- Road Flares
Stalled cars and accident scenes are always a potential hazard, even more so at night and especially during winter driving conditions. Road flares ensure your safety by alerting others to your situation.
- Bottled Water and Non-Perishable Snacks
You never know how long you may be stranded. In the best circumstances, bottled water and snacks can keep your spirits up and your nerves calm; in the worst circumstances, food and water may help you survive.
- Backup Phone Battery
The last thing you want to see when your stranded in your car is a dead phone battery. If you add a dead car battery on top of that, your trusty car phone charger won’t do you any good. Be safe and carry a backup phone battery to ensure you are always just one phone call away from help.
- Duct Tape
There is growing sentiment in the DIY fix-it world that there isn’t any problem that can’t be solved with enough duct tape. While that theory may not be bullet-proof, duct tape is still a valuable asset to any emergency kit.
- Heavy Blanket
In certain winter driving dilemmas, when you are stranded without power and heat, a heavy blanket can be a literal life saver.
If you’ve been in a winter driving wreck and need an experienced car accident lawyer, please contact our D.C. attorney as soon as possible at (202) 554-1449 for a FREE case evaluation. Portner and Shure serve clients in the D.C. area including Maryland and Virginia.