It's autumn, which means winter is right around the corner. Now is the time for drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for wintry weather. But maintaining a vehicle isn't enough. With blizzards, whiteouts and frigid temperatures, the need to pull over for a long period of time or an unexpected breakdown can still occur — even if a vehicle is in tiptop shape.
That's why fleet drivers should be reminded to prepare a winter emergency car kit before the winter arrives.
Experts say the following items should be included in every driver's winter car kit:
- A small shovel — In the event your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, you may be able to dig your way out.
- Kitty liter or coarse salt — This can come in handy to help with tire traction.
- Tire pressure gauge — Tires lose 1 to 2 psi for every 10 degrees of temperature change, so it is not uncommon for drivers to find their tire pressure warning light flashing on wintry mornings.
- Emergency hammer or multi-purpose tool — If your battery dies and your electric windows and doors are locked, how do you get out of the car? With the right tool, drivers can cut themselves out of the seatbelt as well as break the windows.
- Flares — These can be lifesavers during a blizzard when your vehicle may otherwise not be visible to rescue workers.
In addition, make sure you include the following items in your winter emergency car kit:
- Ice scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Smart phone charger
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Wool blanket
- Snacks and water
Finally, experts offer the following advice.
If you're stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm for a significant period of time, you may opt to run the engine to stay warm. However, make sure to get out and check from time to time that nothing, including snow, is blocking the tailpipe. In the event there is a blockage, carbon monoxide can seep into the cabin, creating a lethal situation.