Sudden snow storms, blizzards, and sleet are some of the hazards you might face when traveling during the winter months. People who live in areas prone to winter weather are used to the harsh conditions. But those of use who do not live in these locations need to take precautions when traveling there. Especially when traveling with children.
Whether you are visiting relatives in the northern states or just driving to the local mountains for a day in the snow, you will want to be prepared for any event. There are some things you can do, and bring, to help you survive an unexpected incident.
Before you leave
Check the local weather channel for the current and projected forecast. If there is a chance of bad weather, then do not go. Nothing is worth risking your family's safety.
Make sure your cell phone is charged before you leave, but be aware you might not have service everywhere along your route. It is possible, should you become stranded, and you might have to hike to find a signal.
Arrange to call someone when you get there. Should this person not hear from you in the allotted time, they can call the authorities for you? Also, be sure to let them know what route you will be taking, so they can alert personal rescue where to look should they not hear from you.
Your Emergency Bag
When packing your vehicle for the trip, consider putting these items into your car, just in case.
Blankets, Sweaters or Sleeping Bags The biggest danger you face, if bad weather strands you in your car, is the loss of body heat. Bundling up will extend the time you can stay in your car until help arrives.
Food and Water You want to keep food and water in an emergency bag in your car. Bottled water is the easiest to buy and store. You should keep about one gallon per person. You also want to keep high-energy food in your emergency bag as well. Pretzels, granola bars, and breakfast bars are good choices to keep. These kinds of things do not go bad over time, and can be very filling.
Light Sources Keep a good flashlight, with spare batteries, in your bag. You can also keep some of those glow sticks in the bag, to help keep your kids entertained and less afraid. Most camping supply stores carry emergency flashlights and glow stick.
First Aid Kit Every person, whether they have kids or not, should have a first aid kit in their car. Emergencies happen without warning and you never know when you might need a bandage.
Extras to Pack
Kid Items If you have an infant pack extra diapers, wipes and powdered formula. Pack small toys or an entertaining game for older kids to play. If you should become stuck somewhere, you want to be able to keep your children calm and distracted from what is happening.
Should You Become Trapped
First thing you should do is remain calm. Panic will not help and will only make things worse. Take some deep breaths and remember you are prepared for this.
Second, do not leave your car unless absolutely necessary. Your best chance for being rescued is to stay with your car. It is safer to remain where you are than to try to find your way in unfamiliar territory.
Prepare yourself ahead of time, before you get into your car to go for that winter drive. Pack your car with the proper gear to insure your family has the supplies they will need should the unthinkable happens. That, along with a cool head, is what you will need to keep your family safe.