Tips to stay safe this winter and what to keep in a vehicle survival kit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Colder weather is here, and we could get some flurries this weekend. PennDOT and AAA have new tips on staying safe this winter and what to keep in a vehicle survival kit.

“The key word is to be prepared,” PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny said.

PennDOT wants people to be prepared and safe during winter weather. They say you can do eight things to work safely in the winter.

“If we’ve got slippery conditions with black ice especially and you need to be able to move around in the snow, have proper boots that you can wear,” Penny said.

That’s a part of the first tip. You should also keep outdoor walkways clear and sprinkled with salt. Take shorter steps while you’re walking, and make sure your boots have traction. You can purchase slip-on cleats to prevent falling in snow or ice.

“Basically, the way we deal with the ice is with chemicals,” Penny said.

Avoid tracking those chemicals into your home.

“At home, one way to control that is to have a mat outside where you can basically collect and keep the chemicals outside,” Penny said.

That’s the second tip, and it can also apply to your workplace. Penny says snow can melt on floors and create a slipping hazard. Post a caution sign and doormats at work as well.

The other tips include:

  • Never use a gasoline-powered generator or fuel-burning heater indoors. It could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Dress in layers and take frequent breaks to stay warm.
  • Equip your vehicle with good snow tires with plenty of tread. Drive slower and maintain a distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Wear a hard hat to protect your head from falling ice while outside.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing reflective gear, and carry a flashlight.
  • The final tip is to have an emergency winter kit in your vehicle.

“That’s one way of being prepared if you get stuck in a storm. Let’s say the highway traffic closes down, you may be stuck out there for an extended period of time. It’s good to be prepared, and a survival kit can help,” Penny said.

“If you’re stuck in the snow, temperatures are going to be cold, so you want to make sure you pack yourself items to stay warm like blankets, hats, gloves,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, spokesperson for AAA Central Penn.

AAA Central Penn and PennDOT say a winter survival kit is essential and could save your life and the lives of your passengers if you’re stuck in your vehicle for an extended amount of time.

“It also helps to have an ice scraper or a snow brush to remove the snow from the car. If you have a cell phone, that’s always handy if you need to communicate with someone in the event that are you stuck in the snow,” Spiegel said.

“I think mother nature has given us plenty of time to get ready, and the test is coming,” Penny said.

The other items you should have in your vehicle’s winter kit include:

  • a shovel
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars
  • raisins and mini candy bars
  • matches and small candles
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • necessary medications
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • cell phone adapter to plug into lighter

 

 

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