A broken down car sucks, being stranded sucks, and being out in the cold sucks. Basically there is no way around being in a sucky situation when you must work on your car in the middle of winter. However, there are tools, items, and tips that will help you brave the elements and make them slightly more bearable. Although some of these are simple, it’s important to be reminded.
Gloves – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, big duh. But I’m not talking about the cute little mittens grandma made you for Christmas, I’m talking about some rough leather gloves or some padded mechanix gloves. You need to protect those hands from cold metal, sharp edges, and the occasional smashed finger. Try changing the oil in some suede or faux whatever and you have the formula for destroyed winter hand accessories. Throw an extra pair in the glove box or in a side holder where you can get to them quickly and forget about it untill you really need them.
Nuts and Snacks – Maybe it’s obvious here my mind always is, constantly planning my next meal. Thankfully that’s normally not a problem, but when a car breaks down it puts a hamper on my dinner plans. The stress of not making it on time to my next food source is compounded by cold temperatures and frigid winds. Simply having some salty snacks like peanuts or having a sweet non perishable like raisins makes the wait more bearable.
Chargers – I’m guilty of not always having a charger for my cell phone or other electronics in my car. It’s because I’m cheap and not always because I live in the stone age. This is not a good practice, especially with my wife and daughter riding with me more times than not. Just a simple flat tire could have been more tolerable for my daughter if I had the tablet charger. Also, that more severe break down that was over my head would have seemed a lot less stressful had I had a way to recharge my phone. Long walks on cold winter nights are no fun.
Blankets – I wish more of what my father has taught me over the years had stuck, thankfully this tip will always be with me. When it starts getting cold, start keeping at least a couple blankets in the trunk of the car. Worst case scenarios are obviously not the norm, but I’d rather be prepared and keep myself and my family from freezing. It’s worth the few extra bucks to keep some old comforters or quilts in the back in case we have to spend the night on the highway.
More than just being an educational post, this should serve as a friendly reminder to always be prepared when you are out in the highways and byways. Also, be sure to help others if you came prepared and see a fellow traveler in need. Spread the karma around.