The first thing to do as winter approaches is be sure you have stored a few key items in your car. If you wait until you need them to try to round them up, it will be too late. Essential items to include in a winter survival kit, according to a combination of recommendations:
Bottled water (at least four quarts)
Snack foods, particularly nutritious energy bars
Raisins, dried fruit, nuts, candy bars
Strike-anywhere, waterproof matches and small candles
A flashlight with extra batteries
Folding knife and multi-tool
An extra winter coat, mittens and a wool cap
Cellphone and charger
A space blanket
A spare blanket or sleeping bag
A portable radio with spare batteries
Chemical hand and body warmer packets
Other essential winter tools in severe weather country include jumper cables, a small shovel, tire chains and rock salt, sand or kitty litter to provide added traction when stuck on a slick surface.
If you’re leaving for an extended trip, always check weather and road conditions before departing. If poor conditions are forecast, you may consider postponing your trip. Also, let others know when you are leaving, which way you will be traveling and when you should arrive at your destination so they can alert authorities and provide them with solid information to help in finding you should the need arise. Fill your car with fuel and make frequent stops to stretch, relax and refill your tank, never allowing it to get much below a half tank. Should you become stuck and need to spend the night in your car, the ample gas will allow you to start your car throughout the night and run the heat for short intervals.
First call for help if you can’t get your car unstuck. Don’t overexert yourself and don’t leave your car and begin walking for help. You stand a much better chance of being found if you remain with your car, which can also provide the best shelter from the elements.