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Why is a winter survival kit essential in a vehicle?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Car Accidents

Drivers in Pennsylvania often find themselves struggling to stay safe during the winter months. From rapidly changing weather conditions to increased traffic due to holiday travel, roads can quickly go from calm to calamitous. Safety experts encourage drivers to maintain a safety survival kit throughout the winter months.

Motor vehicle crashes can range in severity depending on the types of vehicles involved and the speed of the collision. From a head-on collision to a rear-end collision, vehicle occupants can suffer a host of devastating injuries. Even a collision that seems minor can have a catastrophic impact on the safe operation of the vehicle. From flat tires and damaged electrical systems to mechanical failure due to ruptured fluid lines, drivers can soon find themselves stranded in sub-freezing weather. It is wise to include certain items in a survival kit that might prove lifesaving, including:

  • Warm clothing: At the very least, the survival kit should include a spare winter hat, gloves and a blanket to keep vehicle occupants warm. Some drivers might include a complete change of clothes in the event their current clothing becomes soaked from being out in the elements checking for vehicle damage or attempting to shovel themselves to safety. Drivers could also include hand warmers and foot warmers in the survival kit.
  • Food and water: A winter survival kit should contain nutritional items in case the vehicle becomes stranded for long periods of time after a crash. Bottles of water are encouraged – though they should be checked daily to ensure they haven’t frozen over – as well as non-perishable food such as energy bars.
  • Tools: This can become quite an extensive list the more prepared drivers want to be. From a small tool kit containing screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer to more specific needs such as a collapsible shovel, phone charger and jumper cables, drivers must take the time to ensure they can react to several types of snow emergencies.
  • Traction materials: Whether they have spun off the road or are trapped in a snow-filled ditch, drivers might find that gaining traction is difficult. Many drivers keep bags of cat litter in their vehicle to spread around the tires to improve traction. Additionally, shop safety absorbent can aid in gaining purchase on a slick surface.
  • First aid kit: While this might not be an extensive kit, drivers should keep bandages, ointment, pain relievers and other essentials in the vehicle. Additionally, drivers should keep a few doses of any necessary prescription medication in case disaster strikes.

From ice and snow on the roads to shorter daylight and heavy winds, winter travel can quickly transition from safe to precarious. Drivers must avoid distractions and take steps to reduce their exposure to dangerous conditions. If a motor vehicle collision occurs, the presence of a well-stocked survival kit might mean the difference between minor injuries and catastrophic damage.


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