Travel is not recommended across much of the state due to the blizzard, but many people will get in their vehicle anyway. Pete Hjelmstad with the Iowa Department of Transportation says packing an emergency kit could be a lifesaver.
“A lot of times, I think people think ‘oh, I don’t need all that stuff,’ but if you get stuck in a storm just once you’re going to be happy that you have a blanket, scarf, mittens and a stocking hat,” Hjelmstad says. “A flashlight and maybe booster cables — all of that stuff can really become pretty important.”
Other items for the emergency kit might include nonperishable foods, water, a shovel, extra batteries for the flashlight and insulated footwear. Hjelmstad says if you slide off the road into a ditch and help isn’t available immediately, make sure snow is cleared away from your vehicle’s exhaust and crack open a window.
Hjelmstad says some people also carry candles and matches in their winter survival kit with a metal can to hold the candle. “If you do that, crack the window a little bit. It’s going to give you some heat and some light, but you want to make sure you have fresh air in there as well,” Hjelmstad says.
Some motorists may feel the only emergency item they need is their cell phone. “But, if it’s storming and it’s going to take 20 to 30 minutes or longer for someone to get there, it’s going to get pretty cold in that vehicle if you don’t have those other things and maybe you’re vehicle isn’t running,” Hjelmstad warns.
Hjelmstad also advises motorists, before making a winter time trip, to check their tires for the proper pressure and make sure they have plenty of windshield wiper fluid.
by Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City