Getting stranded while traveling during the cold Rhode Island winter months may be more than irritating; it can be very dangerous. Slippery, snowy roads can mean a friend or tow truck can’t get to you when you need help. You need supplies in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Here are some of the basics you should carry to keep you safe if you’re stranded, in an accident, or lost in a storm.
Driving in the winter is very hard on your vehicle’s battery. Cold slows the chemical reaction in the battery and if it’s older the added strain could drain it. Even if an interior light stays on while you’re working or in the mall, you could come back to a dead battery. People who live in cold climates are usually willing to give your vehicle a boost, providing you have jumper cables. Learn how to use them – it’s not difficult.
Shovel & Cat Litter
If you get stuck in a snow drift out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need equipment to dig yourself out. A small camping shovel tucks into any trunk and cat litter provides great traction under the wheels.
Do you typically bundle up when you head out the door or do you skimp on the bulky winter clothing? It’s a great idea to always travel with a hat and gloves during this time of year so if they’re not normally on you, be sure to store them in your trunk along with an extra sweater and blanket. If you’re stuck in the snow you cannot always run your vehicle to stay warm, because the exhaust can enter it. Hypothermia sets in very quickly in sub-zero temperatures, too – so staying warm should always be a priority.
Toss a few energy bars, beef jerky, or a bag of dried fruit in the trunk in case you have to sit for hours. Bottled water will freeze if kept in your car, so make it a point to always travel with a fresh bottle.
First Aid Kit
If you don’t have one, buy one. It’s a must-have, no matter the time of the year. It could save your life or the life of another if you’re in an accident. Minor slip and falls are also more common in winter months so a first aid kit will help you tend to minor scrapes and bruises while on the go. Consider first aid training so you know what to do in an emergency.
Flares & Flashlight
The days are short in the winter and reduced visibility puts you at risk when you’re stuck in the dark. You may even be hard to see during the day when the sun reflects off the snow.
Emergency flashers can drain your battery, so switch on your dome light instead. Set out flares behind and in front of your vehicle and carry a flashlight. It makes you visible and you can flag down a driver. Toss in a few replacement batteries as well. You may want to include roadside assistance in your Rhode Island car insurance policy, too.
Don’t Overlook the Obvious
Carry a multi-head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench as well as a bottle of de-icer and windshield wiper fluid. Simple problems can leave you stranded if you do not take precautions. Check to make sure that your spare tire is properly inflated and you have a tire iron, too. Keep your gas tank full and your cellphone charged.