To be ready for future snowstorms, traffic nightmares and other emergencies, there are some useful items to keep in your car, according to the American Automobile Association and other sources.
A coat, a hat and gloves.
Maps: the paper kind. GPS devices fail; a laminated map endures.
A hand-cranked flashlight.
A gallon jug of water.
Those should get you through most short-term problems. If the weather is dicey, and it looks like you could be stranded, a few other items will make life more bearable:
Your prescription drugs.
A blanket and a pillow.
Toothbrush and toothpaste.
Flares or reflective triangles.
Metro Atlantans can’t expect enough heavy snow to warrant chains, but these snow preparations are within reason:
A bag of sand.
A windshield scraper and a small broom to sweep off snow.
A folding shovel.
A porta-potty would probably be an impractical addition to the trunk clutter, but would have been exceedingly popular among Tuesday’s motorists who were prevented from attending nature’s call.
Thousands of metro Atlantans were caught in their cars Tuesday after icy roads led to a historic traffic jam that ensnared the city. One of them was reporter Jaime Sarrio, who spent 18 hours in her car trying to get from the Capitol in Atlanta to her home in East Cobb. Here’s what she plans to stock in her car, and why, next time snow is the forecast.
A blanket: About 12 hours in I thought I might run out of gas and have to sleep in my car. Temperatures were around 15 degrees. It would have been nice to have a blanket to stay warm. Plus, I could have turned off my car and saved some gas.
A gas can: At 5 a.m., I had to go into Publix and buy two gallon jugs of water to fill up with gas, which my husband informed me was very illegal. I spilled gas everywhere while filling them up and trying to put them in the tank. In the end, I only got two gallons and my gas light was STILL on. I will be buying one of those refillable cans to keep in my car.
Warm socks and snow boots: I had on boots, but I was slipping all over the ice while walking to the gas station. Plus, my feet definitely got cold. My Southern wardrobe was not ready for this weather.
A disposable cup: Thankfully I had a cup. It was a nice glass travel coffee mug that's now in my garbage can. There's no way I would be able to use it again.
More water: I planned to be in the car for about three hours, so I brought one liter of water. I rationed it but it still only lasted about five hours. I was pretty thirsty when I was finally able to get off the highway at 4 a.m. and get to a CVS, but at least I had something. A friend who was stuck on Camp Creek Parkway for 22 hours didn't have any water. She had to get out of her car and scoop snow into a Cheetos bag to stay hydrated.
Toiletries: While I was in Publix I saw people brushing their teeth and freshening up in the bathroom. I think it would have made me feel better to wash the old makeup off my face and comb my hair.
Snacks: I never go anywhere without food, so I had a banana and a protein bar. That lasted about five hours. I could have used a little something else to keep me going.
Disinfecting wipes: Things get messy once you've been in a car for 18 hours. Plus, I am still nursing my 5-month-old baby. A car is not an ideal place to pump.
Cellphone charger: I had a charger, but I wanted to add this to the list because it kept me sane. I was able to stay connected through social media and text and tell my husband and mom I was OK. I called a friend I hadn't talked to in years and eventually switched on Pandora to listen to some 90s jams. It made the time go by faster.