Winter is coming. It is November, and, like it or not, we are probably going to get snow, wind and icy roads coming our way again soon. I live 35 miles east of Cheyenne, and drive 70 miles a day, so I checked the trunk of my car recently to see what was needed to replenish my winter safety supplies. There was my trusty hydraulic jack and that’s it – no emergency supplies! No sleeping bag for warmth, no cat litter for traction, no candy or power bars to eat. I’m in big trouble should I get stuck on the side of the road.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) recommends the following items in your car during an emergency:
- Tire chains of the proper size.
- A shovel and small bag of sand or kitty litter.
- A snow brush and ice scraper.
- A can of deicer for frozen door locks and wiper blades.
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags.
- Water and dehydrated foods.
- An emergency first-aid kit, well-stocked.
- Flares and flashlights for nighttime emergency.
- Booster cables in case of a dead battery.
Along with these items, I keep a coffee can filled with some candy, power bars, matches or lighter and a candle. I also keep a warm hat, a pair of gloves and my snow pants in the trunk of my car. Do you add anything else to your list? Let us know on Facebook!
Here are a few of WYDOT’s ideas to prepare your car before (yes, before) a winter storm hits:
- Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure and your brakes are in good working order.
- Replace old windshield wiper blades and add windshield antifreeze to window cleaning fluid.
- Keep the fuel tank full, and check all the other engine fluid levels.
- Make sure your headlights, taillights and turn signals are functioning properly.
- Always buckle your seat belt before hitting the road, and once out on the highway, adjust your speed for conditions. (http://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/travel/winter.html).
One more thing to do before the winter storm season hits: Replace those bald tires! I’ve seen cars skating through red lights; skidding around on ice; and in the ditch where they slid off. Would that be you on those worn out tires? Wouldn’t it be better to put new winter snow tires on your car now?
Every state has a Department of Transportation which gives helpful road and travel advice. Motorists in Wyoming can call 511 for timely road condition information. Those outside Wyoming can dial 888-WYO-ROAD (888-996-7623). The website is http://www.wyoroad.info/ and just last year, they developed an app for your phone. You can also sign up for 511 Notify by going to their website and signing up! This app will notify you of travel conditions.
So before you go on that trip, check with WYDOT and find out what the roads are like – both the interstate and the two lane highways. You can find out road closures across Wyoming and where the variable speed limits are in effect. Also available are the Road Cams which show the conditions. WYDOT does a really good job keeping people informed about road conditions.
My last piece of advice when the weatherman starts predicting those blizzard conditions: Find a really good book (say at your local library) or check out that latest new DVD you’ve been wanting to see (again at your local library) and curl up in a comfy chair and wait the storm out.
Retired Reference Librarian, Sharon Mikesell