Winter officially arrives December 21st, so now is an excellent time to double check the contents of your vehicle emergency kit.
Don’t have a kit? Don’t feel too bad; according to an AAA survey, 40% of drivers don’t carry an emergency kit in their vehicles. But do take this opportunity to prepare for an unforeseen emergency.
To determine the items that should absolutely, positively be in your emergency kit, we surveyed several state transportation and emergency preparedness agencies as well as our friends at AAA.
There’s a clear consensus that your vehicle emergency kit should include:
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Kitty litter or sand (the non-clumping kind)
- Flares and reflector
- Tire chains
- Jumper cables
- Tow cable
- Warm blanket(s)
- First aid kit
- Gallon of water
- Non-perishable food
- Cell phone adaptor
- Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, gloves and boots
It’s also a good idea to include a deck of cards or a board game to keep yourself occupied if you need to wait for help to arrive.
While the natural inclination is to store your kit in the trunk, ReadyWisconsin recommends that you carry it in the passenger compartment of your vehicle because the trunk could become frozen shut or inaccessible in the event of an accident.
If you become stranded, what you do or don’t do next could mean the difference between life and death. The ReadyWisconsin website provides valuable survival tips that could help save the lives of you and your passengers. Be sure to check them out.
Now that you’ve assembled an emergency kit, do a little prep work to help ensure you never need to use it.
Before you leave, confirm your route, get updated road conditions and check these items on your vehicle:
- Lights and turn signals;
- Radiator fluid (antifreeze/coolant);
- Windshield wash (use a winter mix that provides freeze protection if you’re headed somewhere temperatures could drop below freezing)
- Tires (overall condition, tread depth and inflation
- Gas tank (be sure your tank is full)
Happy – and safe – travels!
Halloween is a fun time of year for children and adults alike.
Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous time.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are twice as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year
With a little planning and increased awareness, drivers, parents and trick-or-treaters can prevent Halloween tragedies and ensure an enjoyable evening for all.
We turned to AAA and Safe Kids Worldwide for these 16 safety tips for drivers, parents and trick-or-treaters:
- Be extra alert 5:30 – 9:30pm, the most popular trick-or-treating hours.
- Drive slower than normal in residential neighborhoods. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react if a child darts out in front of you.
- Watch for children walking, particularly on the street, curbs and medians.
- Enter and exit driveways carefully.
- Turn on your headlights to increase your visibility. Using your headlights, even during daylight hours, makes it easier for pedestrians and other drivers to see you.
- Set ground rules. Talk with your children about how long they can be out, where they can go and what will be done with the treats they receive.
- Accompany your children, especially if they’re under 12. Surprisingly, 12% of children five years of age or younger are allowed to trick-or-treat alone (Safe Kids).
- Make your kids visible. Decorate costumes and bag with reflective tape and stickers and, as much as possible, use light colored costumes. Have them carry light sticks or flashlights to help them see — and to help drivers see them.
- Make sure your kids can see easily. Masks can limit eyesight, so consider makeup and hats, instead. If your child is wearing a hat, make sure it fits well and doesn’t slip down over his eyes.
- Use flame-retardant costumes.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, stay as far to the side of the street as possible and walk facing traffic.
- Cross safely. Cross streets only at corners — never mid-block or from between parked vehicles — and look both ways and listen for approaching vehicles before crossing.
- Put down the phone. Eliminate distractions while you’re out trick-or-treating with your kids.
- Make sure props, such as swords and canes, are not sharp.
- Tell your children to not eat treats until they get home.
- Stick to the familiar. Stop only at well-lit homes and never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
Happy Halloween from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!
Whether you’re headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays or planning a family weekend on the ski slopes, ’tis the season for driving in snowy, icy and rainy conditions.\n\nTo ensure you and your passengers enjoy a safe trip, we’re sharing 17 important vehicle maintenance and driving tips from our friends at AAA.\n\nWe also recommend you read two informative and free AAA brochures: “How to Go in Ice and Snow” for tips on driving on icy and snowy roads and “Get a Grip” for tips on driving in rain and on wet pavement.\n\n \n\nAN OUNCE OF PREVENTION\n
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your gas line from freezing.
- Avoid using your parking brake in snowy, rainy and wet conditions. If it gets particularly cold, the brake can freeze in place.
- Carry an emergency road kit. Your kit should include a snow scraper, shovel, gloves, flashlight and batteries, warning flares, jumper cables, water, food, extra clothing, first-aid supplies, a bag of cat litter or sand, basic tools, and a mobile phone and charger.
- Don’t warm up a vehicle in a garage or other enclosed space.
- Share your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling through isolated areas. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
\n \n\nPREPARE AND MAINTAIN\n\nSpend a little time on your vehicle before your trip to ensure a safe, worry-free journey.\n
- Check your tire pressure and tread depth. Having the right pressure and traction in winter weather is a must. Don’t mix radial tires with other types of tires.
- Replace wiper blades. If your blades leave streaks or miss spots, it’s time for new ones. Also make sure you have enough washer fluid that won’t freeze in the reservoir.
- Ensure the battery is working properly. Check all cable connections and make sure there’s no corrosion on the terminals. You may want to replace the battery if you haven’t done so in the last three to five years.
- Check that all your lights are clean, bright and working properly. This includes your headlights, brake lights and turn signals. If your plastic lens headlights are dull or don’t provide enough light, consider a Headlight Restoration.
- Check your antifreeze — both the amount of fluid and the fluid’s freeze protection level. Worn-out fluid may not protect against freezing or overheating and can lead to costly engine damage. Learn more about your vehicle’s cooling system and the benefits of Cooling System Flush service.
- Have your vehicle inspected. Take the time to service your car before a road trip, especially if you’re close to scheduled maintenance.
\nOil Can Henry’s Famous 20-Point Full-Service Oil Change is an exceptional value that includes a complimentary safety inspection to help keep your vehicle at peak operating efficiency. We check your lights, battery, wipers, brake fluid, air filters, PCV valve, and Serpentine Belt. We also check and fill your windshield wash, coolant, transfer case fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, and tires.\n\nIf you need a Cooling System Flush, Headlight Restoration or Automatic Transmission Flush, trust the trained technicians at your local Oil Can Henry’s. All our services meet manufacturer warranty requirements, so you don’t have to hassle with appointments and drop-offs at the dealership. Learn about the wide variety of preventive maintenance services we offer here.\n\n \n\nBE IN THE KNOW\n\nMake sure you’re familiar with basic techniques necessary to drive safely in winter conditions. Specifically:\n
- Stopping distances are significantly longer on snow, ice and wet pavement, so increase your following distance from the 3-4 seconds recommended for dry roads to 8-10 seconds.
- Drive in the lane that has been most recently cleared and avoid making turns through areas with built-up snow.
- Don’t use cruise control on slippery surfaces.
- Brake gently; don’t pump the brake pedal.
- If you find yourself in a skid, don’t panic. Look and gently steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
- Watch for frost. Cold night time temperatures can lead to frost on vehicles and on the roads. Slow down or brake gently when approaching bridges or overpasses, where frost is more prone to accumulate and create hazardous conditions. Also watch for shaded areas that could create black ice, especially during early morning or late night hours.
\n \n\nSafe travels — and Happy Holidays — from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!