The Boy Scouts have been touting the motto, “Be Prepared” since 1907. It simply is good advice. Indeed, times have changed, and our lives become a little easier since 1907, but the scout motto still rings true for today’s world. Most kids have a cell phone by age 12 and everybody is just a text away, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect being prepared for potential emergencies. When winter strikes, chances for automobile accidents increase. Roads are slick and snow piles up creating potential hazards that don’t exist in the warmer seasons. Taking these small steps to be prepared when driving in winter is an easy way to protect yourself and anyone you may be driving with.
1. Dress for winter – You never know when that sudden craving for chocolate might strike. The nearest convenience store may only be right around the corner, but accidents can happen at any time and in any place. Insurance companies report that 52% of reported accidents occur within 5 miles from home and 77% within 15 miles. When you head out, no matter how far you are going, dress for winter. You don’t want to get stuck for hours in the snow in shorts and a t-shirt.
2. Pack your car with essentials – Take some time and put together an emergency kit for your car in case you have an accident. Some essentials to include are bottled water, snacks such as protein bars, blankets, roadside flares, flashlights, gloves or hand warmers and fix-a-flat. The small effort of gathering these items and placing them in your car is worth the peace of mind they provide. Got a new driver in the house? Why not pack them a kit for their car?
3. List contact information – Create a card with the names and phone numbers of those you would like contacted should you be in an auto accident and unable to communicate. Keep this list in your wallet and the glove box in case either is not reachable for rescue personnel. It is a good idea to also put it in your phone under ICE (In case of Emergency)
4. Put your cell phone in your pocket – When heading out on icy winter roads, it’s a good idea to place your cell phone in your pocket. If you slide and crash or even flip your car, that cell phone may not be reachable if in your purse or thrown from the seat. If it is tucked away safely in your pocket, you will have a better chance of being able to use it to call for help.
These four simple steps can help you be prepared when driving in the winter. Your passengers will thank you if you have supplies to make things more comfortable should you get stuck for any length of time. Some of these measures could even save your life. Drive safe in winter weather and if unfortunately, you have a winter auto accident, be prepared with an auto body repair shop that will get your car back in shape. Barbosa’s Kustom Kolor will handle all the details of your auto body repair, work with your insurance company and get your car looking brand new once again.
This article was originally posted in January 2017 and has been updated.