In January, most parts of the United States experienced at least one walloping winter storm. Deep snow and frigid temperatures blanketed the nation. Roadside emergencies were hitting all-time highs. Some states even issued NO TOW rules, meaning the tow trucks were not allowed out to pull vehicles from the ditches. The conditions were so treacherous that even the towing professionals stayed home! It is worth discussing the safety for you and your passengers in the event of a snow emergency.

In TSS’s First Aid courses, we ask folks about what they have in their car for emergency care. And, we get a lot of different answers! Here are our top recommendations for ensuring that you are prepared for inclement winter weather conditions:

Tires. Strict attention should be given to the condition of your tires BEFORE the snow starts falling. Studded tires are great for traction. Just pay attention to the dates set for installation and removal in your area.

Clearing the car of snow and ice before driving is critical. Don’t head down the road with a peephole through the windshield, but completely clear the car and defrost the windows. It’s a wild ride out there in the winter and you need to be able to see all around you. Oh, and don’t forget the top of the car! Two things can happen when you leave a pile of snow on your car roof: 1) The snow blows off onto the car behind you, blinding the driver as they travel along. And 2) You stop and the whole pile slides down your windshield and onto your hood; now, you can’t see! Both create roadway hazards.

Keep the following items in your car to support you in the event of becoming stranded in a winter storm:

  • Blanket
  • Gloves and hats
  • Non-perishable snacks like granola bars, crackers, etc. And water.
  • Jumper cables
  • Kitty litter for traction
  • Have your cell phone charged before you leave. Carry an auxiliary charger, if possible.

The best tip? Stay home, if at all possible, until the roadways are cleared and safe for travel.