While it’s always best to stay home or somewhere warm and safe during a snowstorm, it’s not always an option for everyone. If you don’t need to be out during a storm, don’t. Check the weather and plan ahead to make sure you have emergency food and a plan in case the power/heat goes out.
The stories out of Virginia the first week in January 2022 from motorists trapped in their cars on I-95 were horrifying. Many were stuck overnight—and it was far from a warm environment! Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia tweeted that his normally two-hour drive to the Capitol was still not completed 19 hours after leaving his home. That’s a long time. The news reported even longer times for some travelers.
More recently (December 2022), Buffalo, NY was hit with a strong snowstorm that had high winds, freezing temperatures, and several feet of snowfall. Sadly, some people were stuck on the roads, lost power, or were outside, leaving over 50 dead. Buffalo is known for having snow storms, this one was particularly bad.
The idea of being confined to your car—and not near a rest stop!—for hours on end may seem highly unlikely to you because you always check your weather app before you set out on a trip (right?), and you can “drive in anything.” Well, maybe. But you just never know when a group of tractor-trailers will do a group jackknife maneuver a few miles ahead and block the highway.
All this makes the Scouts’ motto of “Be Prepared” sound pretty darn smart, especially when it comes to essentials like food, water, and access to a bathroom. Consider carrying a little bag (no reason to include the kitchen sink) in your car with emergency essentials. We’ve grouped suggestions into a couple of categories.
Before you leave on any trip, always check your car’s fluids and top them off if needed:
A word of caution: It may seem a whole lot easier to buy a ready-made travel kit (you can get them with anything from a couple of dozen items to over 70 things), but many reviews indicate that these kits are often low quality, so the items are useless or easily broken. Better to bite the bullet and put your own kit together with quality items so that when you need something, it’s there. Costly, but better to be safe and prepared.
Oh, and the rest-stop concern we mentioned? Consider carrying a leakproof unisex urinal and sealable jug because, while you can probably hike to the woods during an emergency, you aren’t going to want to when it’s frigid with white-out conditions.
Posted on December 27, 2022
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