Winter had taken its grip with a fury.  That means we need to take extra precautions traveling in the cold and snow.  Be prepared!  In a recent press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, they offered sound advice concerning winter travel.  Here is what you should have handy in your car's emergency kit:

  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Small shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow chain
  • Sand or cat litter (for tire traction)
  • Colored cloth (such as a red bandana)
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Energy bars

They also recommend the following:  "Before venturing out, charge your cell phone and be sure you’re dressed for the weather. Even if you’re going from garage to garage (and therefore don’t plan to be outside), be sure you’re dressed appropriately in case something happens that requires you to go out into the elements. Inform someone of where you’re going and when you plan to get there.   If you get stranded, call 911 and stay in your vehicle if at all possible. If it’s daytime, tie a colored banner to your antenna or hang it out a window. If it’s dark out, remove the cover from your dome light and turn it on so that road crews or rescue units can see you. To reduce the drain on your battery, only use your emergency flashers if you hear a vehicle approaching. While you wait for help, keep your engine turned off unless you’re sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow and ice; if it’s not, it can cause you to breathe deadly carbon monoxide. Also be sure to keep snow off the radiator; otherwise, your engine could overheat.  Another reason to keep the engine off is that having the heat on will make you warm and sleepy; it’s much better to be cold and awake. And moving and rubbing your extremities and huddling close together can help keep you from getting too cold without burning any fuel. Ultimately, remember that the goal isn’t comfort; it’s survival. You don’t need to be cozy. You need to stay alive until you’re found."  For more information about winter travel safety, contact your local Sheriff's Office or visit MN Department of Public Safety.