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Safety - Drive Smart


Driving in the winter is a stressful time for so many. The weather forecaster is calling for snow overnight, which causes a restless night tossing and turning wondering how bad the roads will be for your commute in the morning.
You can’t predict the weather, but taking a few extra steps to stock your car with essentials will make traveling this winter a bit less stressful. Add these important items to your car and drive smart this winter. 

  1. Ice scraper and snow brush – always clear your entire car of snow and ice before driving to prevent a crash. Even a small flurry could end up leaving a few inches of snow on your car.
  2. Shovel – Many will leave their shovel in the garage or on the porch, but a small or collapsible shovel will come in handy if your car is stuck in the snow or if you have to clear a path to drive.
  3. Gloves and other winter clothing – You’ll do a better job of clearing your car off when you’re warm, so be prepared to bundle up.
  4. Blanket – If you are in an accident and unable to turn your car on, a good way to keep warm is with a spare blanket kept in your car from November to March.
  5. Emergency flares or reflectors – necessary to help other cars and emergency vehicles see you especially when snow storms reduce visibility.
  6. Rock salt, sand or kitty litter – Getting stuck in the snow is never fun, but having these coarse materials will help your tires gain tracking and get you back moving on the road.
  7. First aid kit – Although essential year-round, this is one of the most important things to keep in your car during the winter because emergency responders may be slow to arrive if it’s snowing.
  8. Extra windshield washer fluid – Clearing your windshield with fluid improves visibility, especially in a winter storm. You don’t realize how useful it is until you don’t have it so it’s best to check levels throughout the winter. 
  9. Flashlight – Because it gets dark earlier in the winter, it’s always a good idea to add a flashlight to your glove compartment. And don’t forget to check the batteries!
  10. Rope or chain – when rock salt won’t work, a tow chain is a great tool to get your car out of the snow.
  11. Jumper cables – Cold weather has a negative effect on your car’s battery. The car battery is not only necessary to start your car, but it also powers the car’s heater for warmth.  Jumper cables are a must in every season.
  12. Small tool kit – Some minor repairs can be made with basic tools. If you know how to perform simple maintenance yourself, you might save yourself some time waiting for help.
  13. Sunglasses – you’re probably wondering why sunglasses would be on a winter list, but the sun’s reflection on the snow is bright. Reduce the glare by wearing sunglasses while driving in the winter. 
  14. Cell phone charger – Many drivers will charge their phone when driving. In the winter, try to keep your phone fully charged before hitting the road.  You will need your phone to call for assistance if you are stuck or in a crash.
  15. Water and non-perishable snacks – Depending on how long you have to wait for assistance should the worst happen, bottled water and something like a granola bar can make a bad situation a little more tolerable.

We’ve compiled a list of essential items to keep in your car this winter, but it’s also important to remember the basics.  Always keep a half-full tank of gas in your car during the winter months and check that your wiper blades are in working order.  Changing to snow tires is also helpful, but what else can you do to prepare yourself for winter travel.  No one plans to be in an accident, but being prepared for emergencies can ease your mind if one should happen.