If you didn’t realize it, the temperature in the States has been dropping all the way down to single digits. This is what people from Wisconsin call Flaps down weather. The Carolinas even got blizzard conditions. It has been so cold even Florida got a chance to partake in winter for a few days. We have finally gotten some cold weather. Well, it is winter after all.
If you haven’t winterized your car yet, well you are running behind. If you have to do any driving in winter time you need to plan for the unexpected. More people die from the cold than from heat. So you want to make sure your set for driving in the winter time. Young Men, you may have a family and with that family, you have the special responsibility of making sure that they travel safely.
So besides the luggage, baby stroller, formula, the 10 lbs. of diapers, Podcasts, and all the other provisions, I have long since forgotten about, magically stuffed into your car, you also want to have a Murphy deterrent. This repellant needs to be tucked into your trunk or in the way-way back of your SUV. Depending on where you live you may only need some of this but if you are heading further north than the Kansas/Oklahoma Stateline. Then you want to prepare for the worst.
You want to have a Winter Emergency Kit. This is different than the regular emergency kit but if you haven’t set up your emergency kit, I will go over all that you will need.
The Tub is what we call the emergency kit and that is because it literally is a Tub. This contains all of the necessities for a roadside emergency. If you are setting up your tub for the first time here is your shopping list
- 2 quarts Oil
- 2 Gallons of Antifreeze/ Coolant
- Radiator Hose that will fit your year make and model of your car.
- Fan Belt that will fit your year make and model of your car.
- Socket set. Don’t need to by Snap-on but don’t go dirt cheap either.
- Philips head screwdriver
- Flathead screwdriver
- Power Steering fluid
- Battery Terminal Cleaner
This will cover 90% of your emergency’s, which are outside of a flat tire scenario. That way you are covered if your serpentine belt breaks you want to know how to fix it. If you’re Radiator hose breaks. You can change it add some more fluid and be on your way. Just read up on how to do that for your particular model of vehicle.
Once you have the all season Tub setup and ready it is time to look at your winter kit. Now you can adjust this recommendation to fit your region. This is covering the worst case possibilities for if you are caught in a winter storm.
So for those in Florida, you may not need a Folding shovel or a signal flag, but you might want to keep this in consideration if you are traveling up to the New York state area and you are seeing that they have a possibility of a winter storm. Or they may have a sudden unexpected blizzard blowing across Nebraska as you are driving to Idaho.
So what do you want to have if you get caught in whiteout conditions? Say you slide off the road in the storm leading up to the blizzard? You are not on the main highway so the road crew may not come by and find you for many hours. Cause you never leave the car if you are in a winter storm. That should go without saying but that is how many people die. They get stuck and try to make it back to the house they saw a few miles back. Sadly they lose the road or don’t have enough covering and freeze. Since your responsibility as the guy is keeping your family safe. Here is what you need and why you need them.
Another important item to pay attention to is if you are stuck keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. If you don’t Carbon Monoxide can back up and enter the cab of your vehicle and kill everybody. So if the storm gets too out of hand and you can’t keep the snow cleared it is better to turn the engine off then to suffocate.
No, you won’t freeze with the engine turned off. The snow will act as an insulator and if you have extra blankets in your car you will stay somewhat comfortable.
This is where the cheaper the better is actually true. Cheap litter is mostly comprised of clay. Hard chunks of Clay. Now many people think that the clay is an alternative to salt in that it melts the ice and that is how you get out. That is not the case at all.
Kitty Litter is besides being hard it absorbs moisture. As it absorbs moisture it expands and adds friction to the tires so they are able to get unstuck.
To apply you need to know if your car is a front wheel drive a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel drive. Add the equal parts to each of the Drive wheels.
A Red or Black Piece of Cloth
This is rarely used but will help if you are in an area that has received a lot of snow. Many times snow plows will check on stranded cars but if they don’t think there isn’t anybody there they may just pass it by.
So to keep that tragedy from happening. Get a high visibility flag Either Bright red or a high contrasting color for example Black. Tie it securely to your radio antenna. This way if you are stuck in a ditch people passing can see that there is someone in distress.
You and your family could very well be stuck in a disabled car for a while if you become stranded in severe winter weather. So you want to have clean drinking water on hand. Yes, you can use the snow but let’s make that a last resort. Have a gallon or two ready for those just in case
If for some reason you are not able to get any good cheap cat litter then you can also use Bleach. What bleach does, is it breaks the rubber on your tires down. This makes the tire softer. So with softer tires, they have better gripping power.
Again just pour the bleach over your drive tires.
If you get stuck you will want a shovel. It will save your hands from getting wet and cold, and you can dig yourself out of the ditch you found yourself in. A shovel is invaluable. Have one in the car
You can buy a folding shovel on Amazon or if you have an army surplus store you can pick one up for pennies on the dollar.
It never hurts to give yourself and your loved ones an extra layer of warmth. Now the reason I say heavy blankets is because though even a flat sheet can retain some warmth. A heavy blanket does just a better job of keeping your loved ones warmer. Especially if you have to turn the car off.
Depending on how long you are stuck in the car you will have kids say they need to poop so this is a way to take care of business and not destroy the upholstery.
You will need energy. So pack some peanut butter and high protein I know I just put every single soccer mom into shock and fear of their kid’s supposed nut allergy but it is high in protein and carbs. This way you won’t stay as hungry and your body can keep itself warm. But if you somehow wind up with Nutella then ok but it would be better for the family if you threw that crap out of the window.
Seriously, have crackers and carb based foods, like bread and goldfish crackers. If you have some dried fruit that is a great food to consume also.
You can buy a box of hand warmers and each person in the car can have a pair and you would still have extras.
This is a staple for anyone who experiences some type of winter cold. Whether it is for removing frost or you are battling freezing fog. This tool is a must-have. It is small and compact and can be kept in your glove compartment.
If you are ever caught in an Ice storm you realize this is the best thing to come in a can since Crazy Cheese. It can help open a frozen door or if your windshield wipers are frozen to the windshield you can give it a quick spray and they are loose. Frozen locks are no match for de-Icier. It is good to pick up a can or two from your local Walmart or Amazon.
As I said before you may not need all of this or in you are down in the Florida Keys or in Laredo, Texas you may only have to deal with a flake fall once every 20 years. So you may not need it. But if a guy from San Antonio for some reason moves to Minnesota then he may want to pack all and then some.
Either way, be safe out there don’t be in too big of a hurry. It is better to arrive where ever you are going alive and late than to not make it at all.
What do you pack for your emergency kit? Share with us in the comments below.