Car packed? Check. Kids buckled in? Check. GPS is showing it should be a clear 2-hour drive. To Grandmother’s house we – oh, no. Is that snow?
You bet it is – or at least it was in the experience of a handful of drivers who fell victim to a recent traffic jam in Northern Virginia that held them stranded for over 24 hours in the middle of a snowstorm on I-95 at the start of the New Year.
When things finally began to clear, WUSA9 reported “Virginia State Police are continuing to work to remove numerous abandoned cars after Monday’s winter storm wreaked havoc on the highway, causing crashes, spin outs, stalled trucks and other blockages.” Now that…. is a problem.
Reports about the I-95 traffic jam say drivers were without food and running out of gas in the middle of nowhere among freezing temperatures. What could you do should you wind up in a similar situation?
Never underestimate the power of a car emergency kit!
It may not sound like much but having the right items can prevent your emergency from going from bad to worse. Here is a list of the essentials we recommend packing before the next big snowstorm:
Top 10 things to include in an emergency kit you’ll be keeping in your car:
- Comfortable shoes to walk in, and/or boots in the winter.
- Drinking water, but make sure this is stored in something that will not freeze and burst, in the event there is cold weather.
- Blankets and/or towels that can be used to keep you warm or dry you off.
- Warm layers of clothing, including, if possible, a jacket.
- Nonperishable food or snacks (tip: if canned good – include manual can opener)
- Cash on hand should be at least $20 in case of a major disaster where ATM’s or credit cards are inoperable
- Portable cell phone charger (tip: set a recurring calendar reminder to charge it on the first of every month)
- Roadside emergency supplies or a small vehicle kit which includes jumper cables, road flares, tow rope etc. Also consider packing kitty litter – it is a great tool for traction if stuck in the snow or ice.
- First Aid Kit that includes alcohol or sanitizing wipes and dose or two of important prescriptions.
- Flashlight that is battery operated and stocked with batteries.
Once you are ready to put this kit together, consider using a duffel bag that can be stored out of the way in your trunk. Grab some Ziplock bags or other waterproof containers to store and use your best judgment on what can and should be stored in a waterproof container or airtight in a Ziploc bag.
Our thoughts and well wishes go out to all of those who were impacted by the recent snow storm and traffic havoc. Thank you to all of the first responders who were a part of the rescue and clean up efforts.