Build your own Winter Safety Kit:
Building your own winter safety kit to keep in your car is quick, easy, and just might save your life one day. Winters in Ontario can be unpredictable to say the least, and often a few flakes turn into a blinding squall. If you commute to work each day, or have travel plans over the holidays, pay attention. These few simple steps will give you a leg up if you end up stranded in the snow.
So what goes into a kit? The short answer is a little bit of everything. It’s impossible to tell in advance exactly what you’ll need in an emergency situation. And, you don’t want to fill your entire trunk with emergency supplies during your everyday driving around. It then becomes a fine line between what you need and how much space you have. I agree with the old saying, “I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
On a side note, there are ways to prepare without having to add to a winter kit. For example, don’t head out in ugly weather without wearing decent winter clothes. I actually know a few people that don’t own a winter jacket…in Ontario! Now let’s start building your life saver.
First decide on a good container to hold the bulk of your emergency supplies. Placing them in an old IGA bag just won’t cut it. Make sure it’s big enough to keep what you need, and durable enough to survive in your vehicle. You should be able to fit almost everything into a small backpack.
You’ll need a shovel. Now you don’t need to drive around with a giant snow shovel; even a small garden trowel will suffice (preferably metal). 9 time out of 10 people get stranded because they get stuck. It only makes sense to pack a few items that help you out of the ditch. Next would be some basic tools (including booster cables). You may not be a handyman or know how to fix a mechanical problem, but someone driving by might be able to help.
Get seen by adding some signaling devices. Flashlights, flares, and even candles can be a game changer. Also, I’ve heard that a single candle can keep a car warm during a storm. Your cell phone battery can die pretty quickly in the cold, making it tough to call for help. You can’t get helped if you can’t be seen.
A first aid kit is a must in your bag. This is something you should keep on hand year round. Things can get pretty hairy once you start tackling a problem during a storm, and you quickly become more prone to injury during a stressful situation. Safety first.
Finally add some grub. A bit of food and water on hand will make a big difference both in the short term, and if you’re in it for the long haul. Pack some non-perishables into your winter kit just in case. Avoid anything that needs preparation and stick to things like granola bars and trail mix. You can never go wrong with chocolate. Just try your best not to dive into your supply before you need to. You can always buy a prefabricated care safety kit and then just add snacks to it. Drive safe out there.