Surviving slippery situations


Jamie Vondra, ’22, is always prepared for unexpected roadblocks.

Everyone should be cautious about traveling in extreme winter weather. Cold, snow and ice are hard on cars, drivers and passengers. Cold affects metal, rubber and other materials in your car. Most importantly, extreme winter weather can threaten your life. Add these items to your car to stay safe as you drive.

The first thing you’ll need is a candle-powered heater. You’ll eventually run out of gas  and will need some fuel when help arrives to get your car moving again or when the weather clears up. But more importantly, snow and ice can block your engine’s exhaust and lead to deadly levels of carbon monoxide in the car. So make sure you pack a simple candle-powered heater. All you need is a metal can, a candle and a lighter. A candle can make a surprisingly effective heater in the confined space of a car.

Next some little things to add to your kit are a phone charger and flashlight. Cell phones are welcome lifelines when your car is stuck, but they’re only effective when they’re charged. So keep a spare cell phone charger in your survival kit to keep your phone charged up. Also, make sure your car kit contains a small flashlight with fresh batteries. You can use the flashlight to signal oncoming cars or illuminate the inside of the car once the sun goes down.

Some more things you may need are a notepad, pen and jumper cables. If you’re in an accident, you’ll need the other driver’s’ license and plate number. If your pen isn’t writing, it could be frozen, so warm it up between your hands. You can also use a trusty pencil. Also, you should never count on another driver to have jumper cables for you to borrow. They’re inexpensive and could mean the difference between a helpful driver helping you get your car started or paying a tow truck to do it.

Last but not least, you’ll want to have a spare pair of gloves, a hat, and blanket. Staying warm is the most important survival tip when you’re stranded in the winter. It’s always a good idea to have an extra hat and gloves. A blanket is also a great way to stay warm but know that it will most likely get dirty so make sure it’s an old blanket or quilt you wouldn’t mind getting dirty.

Put everything into a sturdy box or plastic bin and pop it in the glove box or backseat. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but you’ll be thankful you have your winter survival kit if you do find yourself stranded.