Spring break season is coming up and you many be packing your car for a road trip – and not necessarily to warmer climates. My family will be headed to Vermont to Smugglers’ Notch ski resort. And we recently spent three weeks in Colorado traveling to three different mountains.
Since we spend so much time in the car – and sometimes in sketchy weather conditions – we’re always sure to have an emergency kit in our car. You may have one, too, but do you reevaluate your kit before a trip to ensure it’s seasonally appropriate? I’ve got some tips for staying safe on the road in the winter, as well as a checklist for your winter car emergency kit.
First, learn about your car’s safety systems – especially if you’re driving a rental car. During our Colorado road trip we drove a Mitsubishi Outlander that was equipped with a “snow mode.” With “Super All Wheel Control,” a simple push of a button allowed me to transfer more control to the rear wheels to keep us gripping – and not slipping – on the road.
Second, be sure to tell someone your itinerary. Just like when your mom wanted you call her when your teenage self arrived at your destination, have someone to check in with if you know you’ll be driving in potentially bad weather and be sure that person knows what route you are taking.
Third, be sure your emergency kit is up to date. Here’s a list of what you should pack in a plastic bin to keep in your car:
- flashlight / headlamp with extra batteries
- snack food such as nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars
- ice scraper / snow brush
- matches and small candles
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- first aid kit
- pocket knife
- mylar thermal blankets
- tow chain or rope
- road salt or cat litter for traction
- booster cables
- emergency flares and reflectors
Another important point is to talk to your kids about winter road trip safety. Don’t frighten them, but be sure they know what to do and who to call in case of an emergency. All we really want is to keep them warm, safe and happy in the car – no matter what the weather!