Blog Authored by: Ken Mogren, CPCU
Our luck has to run out soon with respect to Old Man Winter and what he does to drivers. Each year unprepared people die as a result of being caught in blizzards or breaking down in frigid winter conditions. Don't be that person. Instead, remember the Boy Scout "be prepared" message.
Packing a survival kit for your vehicle doesn't take much effort and could make a life saving difference. Start by packing things to help stay warm such as extra clothes and blankets. Even newspapers will provide insulation to help hold in body heat if you get stranded in your car. Also pack some food such as energy bars. Bottled water is likely to freeze and expand if kept in your car all the time, but it might still be useful. Better to take some along each time you venture out.
A flashlight and extra batteries will come in handy. Booster cables and a small shovel may help you get back on the road. Don't forget a scraper and winshield washer fluid. Not having those can lead to problems even in decent winter weather. And don't leave home without your cell phone.
If you get stranded in a blizzard in a rural area, it's probably best to stay in your car. Visibility can reduce to almost nothing and it's easy to get lost when you can't see anything. It's wise to fill up the gas tank more frequently in winter. Even a quarter tank can keep you warm for a long time if the engine is run just 10 minutes per hour. And that shovel should be used to keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow or carbon monoxide could be a problem.
The best advice might be to just stay home. Check the weather reports if you'll be traveling. It's very rare for modern forecasters to completely miss the type of weather event that could bring about life threatening conditions.