(ABC4) — Last January, North Ogden residents David and Erica Kennebeck were driving in the North Ogden Divide when they became caught between two avalanches.
The couple were not injured and were able to catch a ride from someone passing by, but David Kennebeck said in hindsight he wishes he had a shovel in the car to dig their car out of the feet of snow that surrounded it.
Fortunately, the Kennebeck’s story had a happy ending, but being prepared can mean the difference between life and death if stuck in the snow in an area that is not highly populated. ABC4 put together a list of ways to prepare your vehicle when driving in wintry weather.
According to consumerreports.org, a winter car emergency kit is a must-have for drivers. The kit can include a number of items in case of an emergency. Below is a basic list of items recommended by Consumer Reports:
- Battery booster cables- These can be useful to jumpstart a dead battery.
- Ice scraper/ice brush- Consumer reports recommends getting a good quality combination ice scraper and brush to clear off your car. This keeps you and others safe on the roads by ensuring you can see the road clearly. It’s also important to clear your car of snow fully so it doesn’t blow onto other vehicles and obstruct other drivers’ vision.
- Portable shovel- Shovels can necessary for digging stranded vehicles out of the snow and unblocking the exhaust pipe to keep fumes out of the car’s cabin. Consumer reports also recommends keeping a bag of sand handy to create traction for the vehicle.
- Signaling device- Keep a flashlight with extra batteries or a signaling cone to alert other drivers if you need help.
- Basic first aid kit- Add any medications or supplies for personal health needs. Most kits have the basics for healing minor injuries.
- Phone charger- Keep your phone charged in case of an emergency.
- Warm clothing- Bring enough basic warm clothing for every passenger in the vehicle. A rain poncho, boots, a blanket, and hand and feet warmers can be useful if you become stranded or need to dig snow around the car.
- Tow strap- You may have to consult your vehicle’s owner manual to learn the best practices for using a tow strap. These can be used to assist in pulling a car from a ditch.
- Water and food- Consumer Reports says to replace bottled water after six months. Pack food that will not spoil quickly and will help you maintain energy, such as protein bars.
- Flat tire kit- Carry a spare tire and any tools needed to change a tire or call roadside assistance.
If you don’t want to gather these items on your own, you can buy kits that are already assembled and include many of the things on the list.
Having an emergency kit is important, but winterizing your vehicle can sometimes prevent emergencies in the first place.
Before making a trip in the snow or ice, check the inside of your tire for bald spots. Replace headlights and windshield wipers if needed.