If you are traveling long distances this Winter, you may find yourself driving long periods of time without seeing a gas station or lodging. A car accident can occur anywhere. Black ice, freezing rain, and snow create hazardous road conditions. Adverse weather increases the chances that you will be involved in a car accident. In the last ten years, more than 20% of car accidents were weather-related, and hundreds of thousands of people were injured. An ambulance or emergency help can take up to three times longer to respond in snowy and icy conditions. Sub-zero temperatures also cause an extreme risk if you get stranded. Being prepared for dangerous conditions may take time, but when your life is at stake you want to be ready to endure a wintry environment.
The amount of safety supplies you need will obviously depend on the amount of people you routinely drive with, or how many people you are traveling long distances with. Sit down with your family and come up with a checklist. Write down items you think would be beneficial to your survival in case you were to get in to a car accident and get stranded. Put together a box of supplies and store it in an area of your car that will be easy to get to in the case of an emergency. Here is a list that should get you started:
Blankets: Spare blankets in your car provide warmth in case you are stranded over a long period of time. Make sure to bring blankets that are large of enough to cover at least two people. The extra coverage will enclose heat emitting from your body.
Extra Coats: An extra coat will provide much needed warmth if you are waiting for help. Coats have the ability to keep you warm and safe, regardless if you are inside or outside of your vehicle. They also provide places to store small items, like medications, gloves, and hand warmers. Make sure you have one coat per person traveling.
Lighter/Matches: Lighters and matches provide a way to build fire, light candles, and create light in case you need to flag down rescuers. Having both gives you backups that are necessary for your survival in the case of an emergency. You never know when you’ll need to build a fire to stay warm, but lighters and matches are an inexpensive way to stay safe.
Water/Food: Bringing along water and non-perishable food items provides energy-producing nourishment to stay alert and safe. Try and include enough food and water that will last you at least three days. Items like trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars, and protein bars supply a good start.
Warm Gloves: Even if you are wearing a pair of gloves while you are traveling bring extra. As mentioned above with coats, make sure you have an extra pair or two of gloves for each person you are traveling with. They will come in handy regardless if you are stranded waiting for help, building a fire outside, or walking to get help. Also, make sure they are waterproof.
Hand Warmers: Hand warmers provide inexpensive and long-lasting heat for hours at a time. They are small enough to store almost anywhere. You can also use them in gloves and shoes, or boots, which are crucial parts of your body you want to keep warm if you are in dangerous conditions for long periods of time.
Flashlights/Lantern: A flashlight’s purpose is pretty obvious: to provide you light in the dark. Additionally, flashlights can be used as a strobe light, or a way for you to signal help. When you are preparing for a long trip, bring a flashlight that can double as a strobe-creating device. You do not want to be left in the dark.
Batteries: Since many of the devices we use require batteries, you need back-ups in case you are stranded for a long period of time. Be sure to bring all the different sizes of batteries that you demand.
Portable Cell Phone Charger: Unless you have an extra phone charged, a portable cell phone charger will come in handy if you are stranded. It is no secret that almost everyone communicates via cell phone now. If you don’t have one readily available you are without one of the most important sources of communication. There are some chargers on the market that are less expensive and made for the purpose of quick and easy access.
First Aid Kit: If you are in an accident, chances are someone has been injured. Buy a kit that is lightweight and compact, but suited for the outdoors. Most safety kits are roadside ready, equipped with manuals. You need a kit that will allow you to treat a broad range of injuries. Make sure you also have extra days of medications for those who require it.
What types of survival supplies do you recommend?
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.