DIY Safe Winter Driving Kit as You Hit the Road this Season
Winter driving can be nerve wracking. If you aren’t just a tiny bit nervous when you get behind the wheel while snow is coming down and ice might be on the road than you need to be a little more afraid. And you need to make a winter driving kit.
I spun out twice in my twenties. Once on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey on some black ice. The other time on the Long Island Expressway in New York in the middle of (what I didn’t know was) a blizzard that came in fast. Both experiences gave me a very healthy respect for the road and Mother Nature.
It is important to take precautions when you have to drive in winter weather. We have all heard the news stories of cars stalling out. Drivers think they can handle the roads so they continue to text and chat on their cell phones.
Until we moved to Seattle almost 10 years ago, I had no idea people even used chains on their tires. Now that we are back on the East Coast people laugh that we still have them. If they had seen the mountain passes we drove over to get to the ski slopes, they wouldn’t be laughing hard.
Winter Driving Kit
Although you should always use caution and smarts when deciding whether you should brave the elements or not, sometimes you just have to drive. You have no other choice. In those cases, I always advise people to have a winter driving kit ready in their car.
This isn’t necessarily a physical box you are sticking items in. It’s more of tools to survive the long winter ahead. Water, snacks, the right tires and a way to stay hands free are key.
Everyone, everywhere should always be hands free when they are in the car. The problem is, even when we are hands free we can be distracted by our in-dash GPS or our phone mounted off to the side. Ideally we need to always be looking forward, not over at a screen telling us where to go. Navdy solved this problem with their innovative augmented driving display device that uses AR technology.
The Navdy device not only tells you where to go via their GPS map but can also tell you when someone is calling. You can answer with a simple hand gesture, never having to fumble around for your phone on your lap or the seat next to you. Through a simple dial attached to your steering wheel you can also control music, switch through apps and grab messages as they come in.
How’s it controlled? Everything runs through your phone. Download the Navdy app, set your course and follow the Navdy device screen to drive instead of looking at your phone. Navdy still runs through your cell phone data plan, but does have a map feature that will continue to work even if you lose cell service for a bit.
Set Up: It takes about 10 minutes to set up the device and get connected. Make sure you get your system mounted correctly. There are several attachments to use depending on your car. You want to be able to see the screen at your usual driving height and not have to crouch down. You will also want to use a small pair of plyers to get the back off of the dial to insert the provided battery. Trust me. That dial may look small but for the life of me I could not get the back off without plyers.
No one wants to think about his or her car falling into a ditch or being buried in snow, but it does happen. Always have a glass breaker in your glove compartment. It can break your car window so you can dig yourself out if necessary and it also has a seat belt cutter on it.
Snow chains and snow tires
If you live in the mountains, you will need chains for your tires. Outside of Seattle there were chain pull over spots. Signs would go up that chains were mandatory if you wanted to cross Snoqualmie Pass. We took more than one slipper ride on mountain roads, so I was happy every time we had our chains on to give us extra protection.
On the East Coast and in the Midwest you will want to talk to your trusted mechanic about snow tires. Are they necessary? Can you have them on your car all season? Snow tires can give you that extra grip you need on the road.
Summer or winter, I always have water in my car. You just never know when you will get stuck in traffic, get caught in a storm or your car will break down. Be prepared with the essentials. It can make a huge difference.
It is cold in the winter. This may seem like a simple fact, but if you get stuck in a storm, your car runs out of gas and/or you have to wait for a tow, you may not be able to leave your car running.
Have a few blankets in the back of your car that are easily accessible from the inside (you don’t want to have to go digging in your trunk). Bundle everyone in the car up to stay warm while you wait for help. Better yet, have a few packs of aluminum blankets (you know, the ones marathoners use at the end of a race) in your glove compartment.
Just as water is essential, so are snacks. If you have to wait for a tow or you get stuck waiting out a storm, you want protein packed snacks to keep your energy levels up. Keep nuts and other non-perishables handy for emergencies. This is when you are allowed to skip the fresh fruit and cheese sticks that can go bad if they sit in your car for a month. I always have smoked almonds in my middle consol just in case.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Many thanks to Navdy for sponsoring this winter driving kit post. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know. Navdy image courtesy of the brand. Snow Chains, Vertical car in snow via Shutterstock.com