Just by definition, winter carries its own personality. The weather is cold, icy, snowy and in my neck of the woods, rainy and windy. Any responsible adult taking to the highways during the winter months will take extra precautions before he travels. Checking the weather and forecast for his route of travel, and his destination. It’s not uncommon for pilots to cancel their flight plans at this point, but earthbound travelers will rarely cancel their road trip merely because of bad weather. Unfortunately every year many pay the price simply because they underestimated mother nature and their level of preparedness.
The wise traveller will already have a kit in the trunk of his car. Maybe a couple of blankets, some snacks and a thermos of coffee. If heading into snow country, tire chains or at least studded tires are a good-sense requirement. Of course a small shovel, some kitty litter or sand, maybe even a tow strap would mean the difference between spending the night in your car or at grandma’s house. And don’t forget, keep your tank on the top half. It costs no more and would really come in handy when you’re stuck behind the guy that’s stuck in a snowbank.
Keep a phone-charging cord in your car. A phone call may be the key to keeping you alive if stranded. The key here is “keep it in your car.” Sometimes we need a charging cord and it goes in the house where it does us no good at all when our phone is dead miles from home.
Winter can be very unforgiving for the unprepared. Always be thinking, “what can go wrong?” Try to run through every scenario and imagine what you will need if disaster happens. Then resolve (after all this is the New Year and you need to make at least one resolution) to get your car prepared for winter driving.
Even if you’re not planning winter travel, there are other considerations to keep in mind. Many years ago, when I heated the house solely with firewood, I neglected to stock up on wood. I can recall splitting up the chopping block, throwing the wood in the woodstove and heading for the woods with my power saw. Not the example I want to set for my kids or neighbors. Keeping the pantry stocked with soup mixes or other easily prepared foods will help get you through that power outage or when snow-blocked roads keep you hunkered down at home.
A small amount of preparing and planning may just make a difficult season so much easier this winter. Remember what your mother used to say, “a stitch in time saves nine.” That same bit of philosophy works for preparing your family’s survival.
As always, send your comments and questions to email@example.com. Previous columns can be found on my blog at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.