According to CarMax Survey, 76% of American Drivers are Unprepared for Winter Weather

By Becky Samford, Publisher Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek & Peachtree Corners Macaroni Kid January 22, 2024

Each year, children, pets and people with medical needs are among those caught on the highway during snow or ice storms. Many motorists are stranded for more than 24 hours and some cannot even run their heaters in the freezing temperatures because they ran out of gas. 

Each time I hear of this, it reminds me how close I came to being one of those motorists stranded in the snow on 285 back in 2014!! I was out of town and planned to return to Atlanta on Tuesday morning. If I had, I would have reached Atlanta at the peak of the gridlock! I would probably have been in one of those photos of people spending the night at Publix or Home Depot!! Thank goodness, I reconsidered and decided to wait a few days to return home.

Hopefully, that sort of massive gridlock will not happen again in Atlanta, but even if we have no snow this year, icy roads are a frequent occurrence. What if you skidded off the road or had a mechanical breakdown and were stranded for hours? I usually have a water bottle, but not any food in my car. Neither do I have any blankets or a first aid kit. Do you?

During a news interview last week, I learned that most truckers have extra food and water in their trucks. Some even have small refrigerators and hot plates. If you are caught unprepared and your kids are starving, walk to the  nearest truck and ask for help. They are usually more than happy to share.

According to an online survey conducted for CarMax, only 24 percent of those surveyed said that they have a winter emergency kit in their car. More than half of those surveyed reported just having jumper cables and a flashlight in their vehicle. I'll bet if they surveyed only Atlanta residents, the numbers would be far less. I certainly don't have one.

CarMax strongly recommends that drivers prepare a winter emergency kit for their vehicle. An emergency kit in your car is an easy way to help protect you and your loved ones. Most of the suggested items you can find around the house, it’s just a matter of collecting them and putting them in your vehicle.

A winter emergency kit should include:

1.      Flashlight and extra batteries

2.      Jumper cables

3.      First-aid kit

4.      Flares or hazard triangles

5.      Warm clothes, gloves, hats, and blankets. "Hot Hands" packs are also a great idea.

6.      Ice scraper

7.      Snow shovel ( right... like people in Atlanta just have them in their garage!)

8.      Kitty litter—for traction on slick roadways

9.      Extra washer fluid

10.    Food and bottled water (Granola bars, trail mix, fruit pouches, etc)

11.    Moist towelettes, garbage bags with plastic ties and an empty jar for personal sanitation emergencies. My niece always keeps a child's potty chair in her car for emergencies for her younger kids.

12.    Cell phone car charger.  (My car chargers seem to stop working just when I need them the most, so I purchased a battery pack charger that will charge my phone 3 times from one charge. AND, it totally charges my phone in about 10 minutes. Best $35 I ever spent!)

Don't wait for bad weather. TODAY is the best time to make sure you are prepared for the worst... just in case you find yourself stuck on 285 tomorrow with half of Atlanta!!

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