Gridlock Guy: Winter’s here, keep survival 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.

Back in 2011, I first published what I kept in my car just in case I got stranded on the roads during bad weather. Growing up in New England, I have always kept an emergency kit in my car and it has come in very handy on more than one occasion.

In case you missed my column back in 2011, here is a refresher on what needs to be in your emergency kit. Please, if you can, put your kit together soon.

- Heavy blanket (For obvious reasons. I keep two blankets in my kit and was able to use both in the last big storm. 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 life.)

- 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 who got stuck last time 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. No gas equals no heat. No heat equals no fun. Always make sure you have more than enough gas in your car.