Winter is here and road safety should be at the top of your priorities. The skies are grey, the rain is heavy, the snow is deep, and traffic jams are at an all-time high. Although winter scenery can sometimes make for a picture perfect drive, the ever-changing unpredictable bad weather can prove disastrous to your travel plans. Worse still, you could be caught out on the roads and stranded for hours on end—not simply due to the direct effect of the poor weather, but also due to the increased risk of road accidents as driving conditions become more treacherous. While jumper cables, spare tires, toolkits, and medications are a staple, you may not have considered the following. For your safety (and comfort), keep these five things in your car.
- Blanket and/or spare clothing. Your mother always told you to wrap up warm, and this is one time that you’ll be glad to admit she’s right. Don’t kid yourself that you can just keep the engine running and blast the in-car heaters. If you’re ever stranded or stuck, you could be held up for several hours, and remember, restarting your car burns less fuel than leaving the engine running while parked for 10 seconds.
- Carpet. Sounds weird, right? But unless you’re an ice road trucker that always comes prepared with snow chains and special tires, getting caught in heavy weather can often mean you do not have the grip to get moving again when the time comes. Wet, muddy, and snowy conditions are extra difficult to cope with if you are not prepared and threaten your road safety. Carpet gives you that extra grip you need. Keep two strips of roughly two meters in your trunk. That should be enough to set you free. Save money by purchasing old carpet remnants at a thrift store or yard sale.
- Mobile phone charger. The first thing you tend to notice when caught in a heavy traffic jam is that your smartphone has just 9% battery remaining. Whilst this is probably a sign that you waste too much battery at work showing people pictures and videos of your children or pets doing really uninteresting things (please, please stop it), it’s also a game changer in terms of who you can call if you need to get important messages out. Who will pick up the kids, for example? Make sure you have the option of ongoing contact with the outside world by keeping a mobile charger in your car. A charger size of 20mAh should provide around 5-8 full charges.
- Food, water, and toilet paper! You likely won’t starve in a traffic jam. But hunger and thirst can be an ever-present nuisance that will only add to your woes. Keeping your blood sugar up and staying hydrated can help keep you in good spirits, as can the addition of a toilet roll if you desperately need to exit the traffic jam and make use of the woods.
- Emergency money. These days we pay for lots of things electronically. Make sure you keep some change on hand, in case you find yourself in the predicament of being caught in a jam without your wallet or purse. A little spare cash could be exactly what you need to purchase food, water, or even pay for an overnight stay in a hotel. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bonus tip: Could your coworkers benefit from this road safety information? Why not consider hanging a caution sign in a visible area in your workplace? There are multiple customizable options from a signage company that could help you to warn others of the potential perils that could await them in the event of having to endure a traffic jam in an understocked car on a cold, wintery day.