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Winter first-aid for the roadside

Author: Canadian Living

Travel

Winter first-aid for the roadside

Before you go
One of the most important items in your safety kit will be common sense. Check road conditions before you set out -- know what's ahead of you in terms of weather and be prepared for it. In extreme conditions, avoid travel altogether.

"Something people often forget to take into account is vehicle housekeeping," says Scott Webster, president of Safe Choice Solutions. "Your car should be free of unnecessary clutter and garbage that can easily turn into dangerous projectiles if you brake suddenly."

Have a good pre-winter inspection to ensure your vehicle is in good driving condition. Once that's done, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you won't get caught stranded and helpless on the road this winter.

Emergency kit for your car
Are you prepared for a breakdown? Your cell phone is a great asset, but what if your phone goes dead or you're in an area with no service? What if inclement weather prevents emergency road vehicles from getting to you quickly? Cover as many bases as you can by equipping your vehicle with this checklist:
• Shovel
• Traction mats
• Compass
• Warning light or road flares
• Booster cables
• Road maps
• Sand, salt or kitty litter - sprinkled under the wheels to give your car extra traction
• Tow chain
• Cloth or roll of paper towels
• Axe or hatchet
• Ice scraper and brush
• Fire extinguisher
• Methyl hydrate (for fuel line and windshield de-icing)
• Weather Radio

Winter driving tips: What to keep in your emergency kit
Stranded? Use this checklist to help you settle in to wait for help to arrive:
• Blankets
• Extra gloves or mittens
• Scarf
• Emergency food pack - include high energy snacks and bottled water
• Matches and a "survival" candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
• Sterile gauze
• Nonstick dressings
• Adhesive bandages
• Tape to secure dressings
• 2-3 triangular bandages
• tweezers
• first aid manual
• safety pins
• packaged alcohol
• wipes
• instant cold packs
• reflective rescue blanket

Skin and extremities can freeze quickly when exposed. If possible, stay inside your car, protected from the elements, until help arrives.

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Winter first-aid for the roadside

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