Put these items in your car and be prepared for anything

March is the most frequent month for blizzards along Colorado’s Front Range and out on the Eastern Plains. And, the number of blizzards severe enough to close major highways stranding motorists in their cars and trucks has been increasing over the past 50 years, according to the American Meteorological Society.

If you plan a long trip or if you regularly commute to work on the Interstate, chances are high you will have to drive through some severe snowfall and wind in Colorado this blizzard season. To protect yourself consider these 10 tips:

(Of course, the best idea is that if you don’t have an important reason for driving you should stay home and wait for the weather and roads to clear.)

1. Fully charged cell phone – Cellular carriers are required by law to complete 911 calls from any cell phone. Any old cell phone will do, even if it’s not activated. Keeping this backup in your car can help if your current cell phone runs out of battery and your car cannot charge it due to a dead car battery.

2. Jumper cables – This must-have item will allow you to jump your car any time the dome light is accidently left on and the battery dies.

3. Spare tire, jack and racket set – These items are mandatory for changing a flat tire. Always keep a set in the trunk of your car. Check you spare to make sure it’s fully inflated now.

4. Roadside flares/reflective triangle – Sitting on the side of the road can be potentially dangerous especially when other drivers may or may not be paying attention. This is especially true at night. Using road flares or reflective triangles can increase your chances of being seen, and helped.

5. Tow strap – Many people don’t realize how important a tow strap is in making it easy to get help when your car won’t start and all you need is for someone to tow you, or pull you back onto the road.

6. Flashlight Another crucial item to have, especially when changing a flat tire, helping a stranded friend, or swapping insurance information at night.

7. Batteries – dead batteries = dead flashlight

8. Power/Granola bars and bottled water – You never know when you’ll be stranded for long periods of time while waiting for the tow truck or someone else to help you.

9. Blanket and Old Winter Coat – Don’t clean out your closet and donate these, yet. Put them in your trunk!

10. Folding shovel – These shovels can be great if you get stuck in the snow or ice; or if you need to dig some snow or place dirt under the tire to get more traction.

If you do get stranded, experts agree that you should abandon your car only as a last resort. Your car is your only means of shelter unless you see a hotel or public building nearby.

If you happen to have a pet with you in your vehicle and become stranded, it is even more crucial that you stay inside it. Cover the pet with a blanket and keep an eye on their well-being. If you travel with pets frequently, be sure to always have any pet supplies your dog, cat, etc. may need to keep warm and healthy.

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