Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is Your Car Ready for a Winter Storm?

We had a heck of a winter storm roll through our area last week--ice, snow, rain, wind, ensuing power outages--which did quite a job on our roads (and my fence too which I still need to get around to standing back up). We had relatives flying in for Thanksgiving and their usual less than an hour drive from the airport turned into a five hour ordeal in snow and ice. Fast forward to this week where we have had plenty of cool yet nice weather. Now as I watch the news, it looks like the folks in New York are getting hammered by snow much more so than would ever happen here. In fact, people have been stranded on I 90 for more than ten hours which brings us to the purpose of today's post...
While you should always have your car ready for any emergency, you should take special care during periods of bad weather to protect your vehicle, and especially yourself. Here's how:
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full, preferably as close to full as is practical for those times when you are stranded in traffic for hours on end.

  • Be sure to have food and water in your car.

  • Ditto for blankets.

  • You should always have a good stock of emergency items in your vehicle: spare tire, jack, "fix a flat", an assortment of tools, jumper cables, work gloves, a flashlight, tow rope, duct tape, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, a fluorescent vest, road flares

  • During cold weather you will want to include: a windshield scraper, hand warmers, a shovel, a bag of sand, tire chains

  • Some other things that I consider essential: spare cash and coins, a car cell phone charger, insurance and registration, a knife, a firearm and spare ammo (this is a personal preference)

  • If you drive often, for long distances, have a car of questionable reliability, or don't want to or are unable to fix your own car problems, you may want to invest in a AAA membership.

  • Of course you will have you car BOB in your vehicle.

  • If you happen to live in a rural area, you may also want to include a chainsaw (a couple of friends picked up a good haul of firewood from the downed trees they came across last week), plastic sheeting and paracord, extra fuel in a regulation container, a wench

  • You may also want to include any specialized equipment that may come in handy: a medic friend always carries his medic bag with him, a tow truck driver friend carries enough tools with him to set up a small shop, a hunter/fisher friend has enough equipment with him for an impromptu outing for either sport

These items are simply suggestions. You need to bring the gear and equipment that you are most likely to need and use without carting around enough stuff to #1 open a store, or #2 attract car prowlers. Be sure to inventory your stuff regularly, making sure that batteries work and food isn't expired. Most importantly, try to stay home when bad weather threatens and if you do end up out in the thick of it, drive carefully and slowly (yes, even if you have a four wheel drive--note vehicle in picture, above).


  1. Where can I find a "wench"?
    Where do you keep it? In the trunk?

  2. I commonly travel with a wench in my pickup. We've been happily married for over sixteen years.

  3. You don't have to post this but.... I snagged you on this one time before! A wInch is what you use to hoist yourself out of the ditch, a wEnch is the girl that the pirate hangs out with. I must be a frustrated English teacher! Great blog anyway.

  4. Guess I should proofread instead of just relying on spell checker!

  5. Code Name Insight and Reg T,

    I do too, but it's only been 2 years.