So, with so many people stranded in their cars on Tuesday night, people are realizing that bad stuff can happen and they need to be better prepared. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has some good resources on its preparedness page, including a link to a basic list for a winter car kit.
My parents grew up in the midwest, and grew up driving on snow and in nasty wintry conditions. My dad remembers days with weather conditions going from a clear winter day to whiteout conditions with a 40F temperature drop in a time span of 2 to 3 hours. My husband was stationed in Germany for 3 years before we met. My parents and my husband have been insistent on making sure all the cars are ready for winter. I will say my car was pretty well prepared on Tuesday. Not perfectly prepared, but decently.
I keep a car maintenance kit with jumper cables in it at all times. In the winter I keep a reflective poncho liner in it as well. I also have a space blanket and several chemical hand warmers. I have several peanut butter crackers that rotate in the car. A 5pound bag of kitty litter is also a part of the winter kit. I have a car phone charger that stays in my car all the time. I have a water bottle in it too. I do have an ice scraper, and it stays in the car all the time.
Knowing that we were going into a multi-day stretch of below freezing weather, I chose to dress very warmly in layers. I also wore my good hiking boots that are waterproof.
In looking at the things that happened here, and the contents of my car, I need to add a couple of things to it. A number of people abandoned their cars to survive the cold. They had cell phones, but had no way to charge them after they left their cars. I need to get a travel charger that plugs into the wall for my phone to leave in the car. I also need to put some duct tape in the car, since I don’t think I have any in it. I need to add a bit more water. I probably need to get a change of clothes in the car as well. So it looks like I’m going to find a small bag here at the house to put those things in, as well as a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. I wear contact lenses, so a travel case and solution wouldn’t be a bad idea either. What would you add?