The headline reads, "Hypothermic Man Stranded on Remote Thurston County Hill" The story, in the KOMO News.com, states the man's car broken down and his battery died. He tried walking to safety, but the attempt backfired. Rescue teams had to be assembled to attempt his rescue.
My question is this: Why did he leave the safety of his car? Was he prepared for winter driving? Did he have an emergency roadside kit in his car? If not, why not?
70% of all winter deaths occur in cars, yet an informal poll near Seattle recently showed that less the 3% of drivers had a kit in their cars.
Winter is here. We must expect icy weather, slippery roads, and dangerous conditions. The prudent person will prepare for such events by equipping his/her car with basic survival supplies, including an emergency roadside kit.
One may assemble an emergency roadside kit from scratch or purchase one 'ready-made' kit. Either way, it is critical that your emergency roadside kit include items such as a flashlight, tow rope, reflecting triangle, duct tape, leather gloves, utility knife, and jumper cables.
In addition to the emergency roadside kit, each car should be equipped with a 72-hour pack containing items such as hand warmers, high energy bars, water, first aid kit, whistle, fire-starting gear, a 3-day supply of necessary prescription medications, solar blanket, a radio with batteries, and so forth.
If you normally wear dress shoes to work, have a good pair of walking boots and heavy socks in your car along with a winter coat, rain poncho, hat, gloves, and an umbrella. These would be invaluable if you had to walk to safety.
If the best option is to stay in your car, what items would you want in your emergency roadside kit? A regular blanket is nice, but a Mylar space blanket will reflect 90% of your body heat, warming you far more efficiently than a regular blanket. Do you have the means to charge your cell phone, even if your car battery has died? Hand-cranked phone chargers are available at a very reasonable price, so no car should be without one.
When planning for an emergency, survival experts suggest one considers the basic needs: shelter, warmth, food, water, light, first aid and communication. Imagine yourself stranded in your car during a snowstorm. What supplies would you need? Make a list, and then add these items to your emergency roadside kit.
Winter driving can be safe if a few simple precautions are taken. By planning ahead and preparing, you can minimize both the danger and the discomfort of being stranded. Purchasing an emergency roadside kit for your car will not stress your budget. How ever, this small thing...an emergency roadside kit... could save your life or the life of someone you love.