Stranded in a Winter Storm - Be Prepared with an Emergency Car Kit
For Release
January 21, 2014

Often we prepare for emergencies at home and work but should you become stranded in your vehicle while traveling, would you know what to do?   According to the National Weather Service, the majority (70%) of snow and ice related fatalities occur in automobiles and approximately 25% are people caught off guard, out in the storm. Before you hit the road, follow these simple safety tips:

 
Before Winter Begins

 • Winterize your vehicle by checking:

o Antifreeze levels
o Battery and ignition system
o Brakes
o Exhaust system
o Fuel and air filters
o Heater and defroster
o Lights and flashing hazard lights
o Oil level and weight
o Thermostat
o Windshield wiper equipment
o Install good winter tires

 Traveling in a Vehicle

• Check your local weather forecast and road conditions.
• Listen to your NOAA radio; a good way to keep ahead of the winter storm.
• If possible, try to avoid traveling in dangerous conditions.
• Be sure to carry warm winter clothes.
• Be sure to tell someone, family or friends, about your travel plans.
• Keep your gas tank near full to avoid gas line freezing.  
• Make an emergency winter survival kit for your vehicle:

o Shovel
o Windshield scraper and small broom
o Flashlight w/extra batteries
o Battery powered radio
o Bottled water for each person and your pet
o Snack foods, containing protein, e.g. raisins, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars,  canned fruit and a portable
   can opener
o Extra winter boots, coats, hats, socks and mittens/gloves
o First-aid kit
o Multi-tool, folding pocket knife
o Toilet paper
o Fully charged cell phone & charger
o Necessary medications
o Blankets (a space blanket if possible, and/or sleeping bags)
o Tow chain or rope
o Nylon cord
o Flagging tape or fluorescent distress flag
o Road salt and sand or cat litter
o Booster cables
o Emergency flares or reflective triangle

 If You Become Stranded

 • Stay with your vehicle!
   o First call for help; if you can’t get your car unstuck, don’t leave your car and begin walking for help. You 
      stand a much better chance of being found if you remain with your car; it also provides the best shelter
      from the elements.
• Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat.
• Make sure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked and roll down a window for adequate ventilation
   to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. 
• Make your vehicle visible to rescuers by tying a red-colored cloth to the antenna or by turning on the inside
  dome light while running the engine.

For more information, visit ready.gov.