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What tools and supplies should I keep in my car during the winter to prevent accidents and stay safe if I am stranded?

The snow came out of nowhere. This morning it was a beautiful 55 degrees, but as you merge onto the highway to head home, it’s a blizzard. You can hardly see three feet in front of you and the snow is already piling up on the side of the road. You try to stay calm and keep your car under control. Then it happens.

The car in front of you begins to skid. He slides into the left lane, causing the car next to you to slam on his brakes. Unfortunately, the icy road prevents his brakes from gripping. He too begins to slide...straight into you. You try to maneuver to the right, but the car behind you has also lost control.

Three cars slam into you, barricading your vehicle in the middle. You hear several more screeches and feel smaller impacts as more cars are losing control and creating a massive pile-up.

Finally, the noise stops and everything is still. The snow is continuing to fall and building up on your windshield. You attempt to open your door, but it’s pinned against the other vehicle. As you take a few breaths to try and remain calm, you realize that the temperature is dropping fast.

What are you going to do?

Car Safety Tools to Prevent Tragedy

Freezing temperatures and snowy conditions don’t just happen in Michigan and Vermont. Virginia gets its fair share of wicked winter weather, but Southerners tend to be less prepared than their friends to the north. Since blizzards and ice storms are not an every-day occurrence, Virginia drivers may not be aware of the dangers they face in icy conditions. There are two major driving concerns when it comes to winter weather: road conditions and temperature.

  • Slippery road conditions increase your risk of being involved in an accident and ending up trapped in your car. When vehicles spin out or lose traction, they generally only stop sliding when they come in contact with something else. This contact can cause you to become pinned inside. Your car could also flip over a guardrail or slide into a ditch, leaving you hidden from view and stranded.
  • Freezing temperatures are not only uncomfortable when you are stuck in your car, but they can also cause frostbite, hypothermia, increased dehydration, hallucinations and even death.

This is why it is extremely important to have the necessary tools and supplies in your car throughout the winter to help you escape a frozen car and keep you from suffering the effects of the cold. For your family’s safety, make sure your vehicle is fully stocked for the winter with the following:

  • Window breaker
  • Seatbelt cutter or sharp utility knife
  • Cell phone charger and adapter compatible with your vehicle’s outlets
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Road flares
  • Shovel and traction helpers (sand, kitty litter, or old rug to place under tires)
  • Blankets
  • Extra pairs of socks for all passengers
  • First aid/survival kit including
    • Bandages
    • Tape
    • Candles and matches
    • Pencil and paper
    • A whistle
    • A bright red cloth place on your antennae as a sign that you need help
  • Water (if frozen, make sure you thaw it completely before drinking - lowering your internal body temperature is a no-no).
  • Snacks such as dried fruits, protein bars, nuts, etc., in case you’re stranded for a long period of time. The extra fuel will also help keep your core temperature up and prevent hypothermia.

Safety Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought

No one can predict when an accident is going to occur. The only thing you can do is be aware of the signs and prepare for the unexpected. When the temperature begins to drop, even if snow is not forecasted, make sure you stock your car with the essentials. You don’t want to be caught in a blizzard unprepared. Don’t wait until it’s too late—stock your car now to prevent a tragedy later.

Make sure your family and friends are protected by sharing this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident.