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Getting Around in Utah

Winter Survival Tips
Part I - Vehicle Preparedness

Related Resources
Part II - Winter Driving
Part III - Shut In
The cold weather is here. Some of us are saying "Wahoo..." and some of us are saying "@#$%^&". But whether we like it or not, it will be our almost constant companion for the next few months.

Since the leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents, I will devote this article to dealing with keeping yourself and your car prepared for the winter. So, let's be prepared, and not let tragedy befall when we could have prevented it with a few simple steps.

  • Have your car serviced NOW, at the beginning of the season. You don't want to be stranded somewhere in a blizzard, so check to see that everything is winterized before winter hits with full force. This includes making sure your tires and windshield wipers are working properly.

  • Keep a basic road survival kit in the trunk:
    • ice scraper
    • extra antifreeze/washer fluid
    • brightly colored cloth for attracting help
    • small collection of tools - pliers, screw driver, pocket knife (Swiss Army-type knife with extra gadgets)
    • shovel for digging yourself out of a snow pile
    • bag of sand or cat litter for extra traction
    • tire chains
    • booster cables
    • a cell phone does wonders in emergencies!
    • If you travel on dirt roads, you might want tow ropes or a winch

  • In case you get stranded, and have to wait out the storm, or walk to help, these items will make you more comfortable:
    • extra warm clothing and boots
    • blankets or maybe even a winter sleeping bag
    • snack food that won't get stale, or won't be effected by the freezing temperatures (such as pretzels, energy bars or canned food)
    • water (should be kept in the front of the car so it can be regularly checked to be sure it is not frozen)
    • flashlight with fresh batteries (should also be checked often to be sure the batteries are working)
    • first aid kit
    • matches and newspaper to start a fire for warmth
    • wet-weather gear (a water-proof shell will work, worn over the winter coat)
    • cards, games, books to occupy your mind while you wait
    • zip-lock bags (for sanitation)
    • a 12-volt, car lighter adapter plug-in coffee pot for heating up water

  • Keep your tank at least half full at all times during the cold months

Winter Survival Tips Part II - Winter Driving

Backroads of Utah
by Theresa A. Husarik

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