Cold at any temperature can be harmful. but extreme cold is dangerous, especially if you are not wearing good insulating and protective clothing.
You’re driving along in your warm and well-tuned car during one of our famous -40° winter days and you get a flat tire. What will you do?
Cold is a serious matter
If you’ve gotten into your car with just a light jacket, no hat, gloves or boots, you could be dead within minutes. Please take cold weather seriously. Look at the windchill chart on the left. Just ten minutes of exposure—the time it takes to walk about one block—in even moderately cold temperatures can result in frostbite. This chart shows how long it takes for those who have some protection to get frost bite. In severe weather, with no protection, frostbite or even death can result in a matter of minutes.
But if you are prepared with a winter kit, minor breakdowns do not need to be so hazardous. A winter kit for your car is the most important thing you can do to keep your family safe this winter. It is especially important to have if you travel long distances or have small children in the car.
A winter kit for you car is comprised of two parts: the part for the car and the part for the driver and passengers.
For the car you should have:
- Chains, kitty litter, sand or other traction devices
- Flares or emergency reflectors
- Jumper cables
- Car jack, lug wrench and spare tire
- Basic tool kit
For the passengers you should have:
- Warm coat, gloves, hats and (if possible) insulated boots. (Dress boots don’t count.) If you didn’t wear these to the car, make sure you have them in a suitcase in the car. (Seriously, if you come to my house in wintertime without a coat on… Well, just don’t.)
- Extra blankets. Compact foil blankets will help some, but are insufficient in frigid temperatures.
- Food and water. A couple high-energy protein bars per person. Allow for water expanding when frozen by emptying about 1/3 of the water from water bottles.
- First Aid kit
- Wet wipes or a box of tissues
- Hand/foot warmers
Be prepared before you leave the house:
- Start the season with a tune-up
- Make sure you have at least a half tank of gas
- Make sure cell phones are fully charged
- Check tire pressure. Air contracts in cold temperatures and your tires may not be fully inflated
- Check and top-up all fluids
Don’t let winter get the best of you. Be prepared for the worst so that everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound.