Health Feature Articles
Are you road ready?
Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S., Regional Director, Nutrition Specialist, Northwest Region, University of Missouri Extension
As chilly temperatures arrive, it's time to ensure that your car is winterized. It doesn't matter if you're traveling a long distance or just driving around town, it's always best to have supplies packed and never have to use them than to be stuck, wishing you had.
Use this list to create a survival kit:
- blankets or sleeping bag
- candles for light and to provide warmth
- can with sand or other container for burning the candles
- metal can to melt snow
- plastic garbage bags or sheet of plastic for body wrap
- extra warm clothing, gloves, headgear and footwear
- flashlight and warning flares
- extra coffee cans for wastes
- sack of dry sand or pet litter to provide traction under tires
- box of tissues or paper towels
- toilet paper
- transistor radio (so you don't run your car battery down)
- new batteries
- booster/jumper cables
- tow chain
- ice scraper and/or snow brush
- and a tall flag (those often used on ATV's or bicycles, particularly if you are traveling through a hidden area)
If you are stranded during cold weather, you will require energy
to stay warm and stay awake so you will want to include food
as well. Foods that are good for your survival kit are dry cereal,
nuts, boxed juices, dried fruit, crackers and hard candy. These
foods tolerate variable storage temperatures, yet are good to eat
most any time.
Other supplies that are good to pack are moist wipes, waterless soap or instant hand sanitizer, plastic cups, plastic sandwich bags (to serve as a dish) and large garbage bags for trash. You might also include single-use hand warmers, which could keep hands and feet warm for up to 10 hours. Check in the hunting section of stores for many of these products.
An additional precaution is to keep a phone book or list of important phone numbers in the glove box of your car. Many people rely on their cell phones for storing or looking up numbers on the Internet rather than memorizing them; however, you can't always rely on your phone because you may not have a means for charging it, you may not be able to get a signal or, if you've had a car accident, your phone could be damaged or lost. Don't count on your memory for numbers either because they will be more difficult to recall if you are shaken, frustrated or injured. Important phone numbers:
- If your county or the location where you are has 911, use it.
- If you have a cell phone, *55 is reserved as a help line. Or you can call 1-800-525-5555 for assistance in Missouri.
If you are concerned about road conditions, call the Missouri Highway Patrol's winter road report at 1-800-222-6400 or visit the Missouri Department of Transportation's website at Modot.org. This site is updated during regular working hours and more frequently during severe winter weather. This site is a real help when deciding on travel or meeting plans. Another weather-related website that may be helpful is the National Weather Service at Weather.gov.
If you do become stranded, don't panic. Stay in your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, you may get lost, especially if visibility is a problem. To avoid carbon monoxide build-up in the vehicle, clear snow from the exhaust pipe and open a downwind window for ventilation. Run the motor and heater only when necessary. It's important to keep fresh air circulating. While a vehicle can be restraining, try to move limbs and muscles and stay awake.
Last Updated 12/21/2012