Gridlock Guy: Be prepared for winter weather emergencies

Now that winter weather is here, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car.

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Now that winter weather is here, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car.

Gridlock updatesMark Arum’s column appears Mondays. Listen to his traffic reports daily on News 95.5 and AM750 WSB, and see him each morning on Channel 2 Action News. Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markarum.

Thankfully the latest round of winter weather wasn’t a redux of the 2014 Snowmaggedon. But leading up to the ice, sleet and snow I was asked by many people to go over my suggestions for an emergency weather kit for people to keep in their vehicles. For the poor folks that were stuck in their cars for over 24 hours in 2014 an emergency kit like this could be a life changer.

- Heavy blanket (For obvious reasons. I keep two blankets in my kit and was able to use both last week. One as a blanket, and the other as a pillow.)

- Warm gloves (It’s always a good idea to keep your hands warm both in and outside your car.)

- Warm hat (Ditto. The best way to retain body heat is with a good hat.)

- Bottled water (It is very important to stay hydrated. I try to keep a minimum of six bottles in my emergency kit.)

- Foodstuffs (Canned peanuts, granola bars, etc. Try to stock items with long shelf lives.)

- Ice scraper (After being stranded in the cold for hours, when the freeway reopens you don’t want to have to figure out a way to get the ice off of your windshield.)

- Complete change of clothing (There is a good chance you’ll need this. Extra socks are a definite.)

- Personal hygiene items (tooth brush, deodorant, etc.)

- Matches in a waterproof container (The ability to create fire truly can be a life saver.)

- Cash or travelers checks and change (You don’t need to keep a lot of money, but you never know when it could come in handy.)

- Prescription medicine and glasses (Meds are important. While stuck at work last week, a co-worker of mine didn’t have any more of his much needed medication. Luckily he was able to venture out and get some. If you are taking prescription medications that are vital to your survival, this is a must.)

- Books, games or puzzles (Being stuck in your automobile for 24 hours can be a mind-numbing experience. Especially for children.)

- Garbage bags and ties (A clean car makes for a happier environment.)

- A whistle (To alert the authorities of your location.)

- Moist towelettes (Cleanliness can become an issue.)

- A one quart plastic container with a tight seal (For, ummm, when mother nature comes a-calling.)

- Candles (The light of one candle can actually heat up the entire interior of a vehicle.)

- Can of spray deicer (self explanatory)

- Rock Candy (A very high-caloric food.)

- Tissues, paper towels and/or toilet paper (Many, many, many people stuck last week wished they had a big roll of Charmin Ultra Soft.)

- Small fire extinguisher (You never know.)

Also, I am a big believer of never letting your vehicle get below a half a tank of gasoline. I know a lot of people like to ride the needle down to “E” before refueling. But, if you did that last week and you were stuck for twelve or more hours, odds are you would have run out of gas. No gas equals no heat. No heat equals no fun. Always make sure you have more than enough gas in your car.