Extreme Cold Weather Emergency Preparedness for Your Car

Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter Driving:

Have a mechanic check the following items on your car
• Battery
• Antifreeze
• Wipers and windshield washer fluid
• Ignition system
• Thermostat
• Lights
• Flashing hazard lights
• Exhaust system
• Heater
• Brakes
• Defroster
• Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)

Install good winter tires
• Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

What To Do If Trapped In Your Car During A Blizzard:

  1. Have a go kit in your car.
    It should contain warm clothing, blanket, shoes, no perishable food/snacks, water, radio and batteries.
  2. Stay in the car.
    Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
  3. Display a trouble sign.
    Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.
  4. Occasionally run engine to keep warm.
    Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running.
  5. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
  6. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  7. Do minor exercises to keep up circulation.
  8. Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally.
    Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
  9. For warmth, huddle together.
  10. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.
  11. Avoid overexertion.
    Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.

What Should You Have in Your Go Kit:

  • Food
  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight w/ Batteries
  • Portable radio with weather band channels
  • Window breaker / seat belt cutter
  • Hand warmers
  • Beanie Gloves
  • Personal anti freeze
  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Road flares

Learn how to prepare you care for extreme weather here:

Find out how to create your own auto kit here:

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