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Better Safe than Sorry

By: KATIE HOFFMAN Jon Jee Staff Published: January 11, 2017 9:18 AM

What's worse than the bitter cold, and having to go out on not only the coldest, but the snowiest night of the year? Ah yes, the worst nightmare possible, being stuck on the side of the road, unprepared. So how exactly does one prepare for such a disaster? Here are a few helpful tips on what to keep in the car during these frozen months.

First on the list is the all important, ice scraper and brush. Typically these items come in one tool but there is no way someone should leave home without them during the winter months. It comes in handy when there is a snowstorm that starts while at school or work, and helps a person avoid having to wait forever for the windshield to defrost.

An essential, yet often forgotten, item that is extremely helpful if it's icy out is cat litter. The litter acts like salt would and gives the tires something to grip. All someone has to do is pour a generous amount of litter under the tires and then they can easily maneuver off the ice.

It’s very helpful to have a pair of gloves, coat, and shoes with good traction. Also, keep a blanket stored in the backseat or trunk of the car as well. These will definitely be things needed to stay warm and to avoid the freezing temperatures.

Other small things that are always good to have would be a multitool, flashlight, and a first aid kit. It may not be the first thing a person would think of, but it is always good to keep a small amount of money hidden in the car somewhere. This could be used for many different things such as emergency gas money, or an unexpected desire for a Wendy's trip. Although having things to prepare in the event of a mishap is nice, there are ways to avoid getting stuck.

To ensure safety in driving during inclement weather, clear all windows and lights of frost and snow before hitting the road. Leave plenty of room for stopping and pay attention because no one should be trying to out-drive the conditions. People should keep in mind that bridges and overpasses freeze first and that exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Do not use the "cruise control" option driving in wintry conditions because even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots, and the slightest touch of the brakes to deactivate the cruise control could cause an accident.

In addition to controlling how someone personally drives, everyone must be cautious of other drivers on the road. Look further ahead in traffic than normal, because actions by cars and trucks will alert quicker to problems and give drivers a split-second extra time to react safely. Most importantly, please remember to slow down and always wear a seatbelt. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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