According to the Weather Channel, the average February high temperature in Arvada, Colo., is 49 degrees, while the average low temperature is 18 degrees. These low temperatures can lead to roadway dangers like black ice and ultimately an increased risk of serious accidents.
Drivers are well served by having a winter emergency car kit available, in addition to keeping abreast of safety tips that all drivers should know. In accidents, the tools in these kits can help people fix their cars, find assistance or even stay alive.
Situations that Require Winter Emergency Kits (Cars)
Breakdowns are common in the winter because the cold exacerbates many of a car’s mechanical problems. A driver could be left stranded in an empty parking lot or some other remote place. If a car breaks down on an empty road, the driver would be stranded without many people around. Cell phones and other devices may run out of batteries in these situations, leaving drivers without a way to contact other people.
Accidents are more common in the winter. For example, a driver could hit a patch of black ice and spin out into a snow bank. The car could become stuck in the snow bank, or the accident could make it impossible for the driver to exit the car.
What should be included in a car’s winter emergency care kit?
There are generally two different types of items that a driver should include in a winter emergency kit:
- Tools: Some good tools to include in the kit include a small coal shovel, windshield scraper, snow broom, pocket knife, jumper cables, tow chain, rope, a gas siphon pump, flashlight, candles and a cell phone adapter for a car’s cigarette lighter.
- Survival items: Good survival items for the kit include food, water, blankets, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and matches. Foods that store well, like raisins, nuts and protein bars, are ideal for the kit.
Retail stores often sell pre-arranged survival kits for cars, but drivers may want to assemble a winter-specific emergency kit for car. Use a plastic tub or other container to store the items. It is a good idea for drivers to include some of these items in the glove compartment or other front seat storage area. Drivers may not be able to reach the trunk in serious emergencies.
Other Winter Safety Tips for Cars
Keep a full or half-full tank of gas in the car at all times during the winter. Gas can dissipate in some cars in extreme cold. More importantly, having plenty of fuel handy to run the engine or to use to make a fire can help a driver survive in extreme and dangerous situations.
Drivers should make sure to complete any maintenance their cars need before the start of winter. Cold weather exacerbates any problems with cars. Also, cold weather decreases a car’s tire pressure at a rate of 1 PSI for every 10-degree decrease in temperature. Lower PSI can lead to flats and tire blowouts.
Car batteries, transmission fluid and spark plugs are affected by the cold weather. Not only for civilian vehicles, either. Trucking companies have strict winter driving regulations, and if you were in an accident with one, you might want to read up on state truck laws for drivers to make sure there wasn’t any negligence on their part that caused your accident.
The Law Firm of D.J. Banovitz seeks to help improve driver safety through legal action and public advocacy. As a service to the citizens of Arvada, we offer a free guide for victims of car accidents: Seven Costly Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Colorado Injury Case.