SPRINGFIELD, Mo- Prepare now, don’t wait for a storm to hit! After the second warmest December on record, temperatures tumbled back down to near average to kick 2022 off. As temperatures reach the low teens and bitterly cold wind chills, there are some things to remember now before heading out to travel. First, before leaving the house, make sure to clean your vehicle off for any snow or ice. Cleaning off your car will prevent anything from flying off your car and possibly hitting the vehicle behind you. This could lead to an accident.

A safety kit is vital during the winter months. Some items you should have in your vehicle are blankets, water, food, an extra set of clothes, a portable charger, a shovel, kitty litter in case there is snow on the ground, an ice scraper, a shovel, a first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables. Have enough clothing, food, and water for all passengers in your vehicles.

Next, make sure you have at least half a tank of gas. This will help keep you warm if you get stranded. Plan to travel during the daylight. Always tell someone the route you plan on taking and your arrival time. Before you hit the road, make sure to check the weather reports for all areas you will be traveling.

If you get stranded, do not leave your car! Leaving your car in a snowstorm or even at night in a place you aren’t familiar with could easily make you disoriented and get lost. Only leave the vehicle if you can see help visible within 100 yards. Have a bright cloth that can signal trouble. You should only let your car run for 10 minutes every hour; this will help save fuel and keep you warm because you could be in this situation for a while depending on the conditions.

Make sure the snow does not cover the exhaust pipes! This could cause a build-up of Carbon Monoxide in the vehicle. Keep the overhead lights on when the engine is running, so your car can be seen. Do light exercise to keep up blood circulation. Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Shoveling snow and pushing a vehicle can be hard work and can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.