Not long ago, we had blizzard conditions here in our area. I drove our winter-appropriate vehicle to pick up my children from school because the conditions were so bad. As I navigated the mile to the nearest school, I couldn't see more than about five feet in front of me. Luckily, I was very familiar with the route and was able to find my way. I parked along the curb watching for my son. I was very focused on finding him because I was worried that he wouldn't be able to see me. Sure enough, I had to stop him before he almost walked right past our vehicle.
The next pick up was almost as bad. Conditions worsened as I traveled. We made the pick-up only to hear that the school was gearing up for a potential overnight stay since parents and buses were not being able to get to the school to pick up their kids. We made it home without any other problems. Later, however, we heard that one of the nearby schools had kept all of the school kids overnight. And many of the parents traveling to the school actually ended up off the sides of the roads, either by sliding or because of visibility. Many hiked to find nearby businesses and houses. Others hunkered down in their cars for the night, thinking that they were going to die from exposure once their gas and cell batteries were out. Thankfully, plows were able to dig out most of the cars the next morning. But some spent miserable nights in their cars.
This experience has definitely become a stop and think moment for me. If I had been in those circumstances, what would I have wished I had?
Here is my car preparedness wish list:
Gas (I can't really store this in my trunk, but we do keep all of our vehicle tanks at least half full)
Blankets (wool, reflective and/or a sleeping bag)
Water (I always keep a case of water bottles in the back of each of my cars)
Food (Even a box or two of granola bars would be tasty in this situation)
Hand warmers (these are small and would fit nicely into a first-aid kit)
Cell phone charger
Window scraper and/or broom
First Aid Kit
Flares/flag (some of the plows couldn't see where the cars - with people still in them - were stranded because the snow was so deep)
And like my mother always said, "Don't go anywhere without your coat in the winter because you might get in an accident."
FEMA - Winter Preparedness