Drivers heading out during winter storms on workdays or holiday weekends, must prepare for the worst.
If you look out the window and the sky looks blue and sunny, it’s easy to think that a drive will be a smooth one, but winter storms can come on suddenly, and tools including a seat belt cutter, a thermal blanket, and other emergency supplies can suddenly mean the difference between life and death.
Nobody wants to think about the worst that could happen, but it’s still important to prepare for it.
No matter what might be on the forecast or how lovely it might look out the window, the National Weather Service recommends that people prepare themselves, just in case. That said, this is particularly important when that service has issued a winter storm watch or warning. Those alerts indicate that while there may not be anything happening within visible range, there are indicators on the radar and detected with other meteorological tools that suggest that a storm might be on the way. In those situations, proper emergency supplies such as a glass hammer, a seat belt cutter, a granola bar and a thermal blanket should be within reach of the driver, just in case.
Items like a glass hammer or seat belt cutter can help you escape from your vehicle in case of a crash.
Winter storms can result in some slippery travel conditions where visibility is shockingly low. These conditions can change in an instant and can be difficult to predict, from one location to the next. To be safest, the National Weather Service recommends that motorists be prepared to adjust their travel schedules to work around storms or to provide a great deal of extra time to make their way through them if they absolutely must be on the roads.
For those who don’t have a choice but to head out on the road, they should make sure their cars have clear windows, don’t have snow on the hood, roof, or trunk, have had fluids topped up, and contain an emergency kit including: food that won’t spoil such as granola or energy bars, plastic water bottles (glass will shatter if frozen), thermal blankets, extra boots and clothing, a first aid kit, an emergency tool with a seat belt cutter and a glass hammer, a scraper/snow brush and small shovel, a candle in a deep can and a box of matches, a wind-up flashlight, kitty litter or sand (for traction under tires), jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, a tow rope, a whistle, road flares and a fire extinguisher.