How to prepare your car for winter weather

"Try to prepare for the unexpected'

ROANOKE, Va. – On Tuesday, those across Southwest Virginia, including Hannah Stuber and her four children, woke up to freezing temperatures.

“It doesn’t normally get this cold until mid- to late-December. I thought it was just supposed to rain today, and then we walked out to flurries and it is very blustery, so I stole my husband’s jacket," said Stuber, who lives in Salem.

In case she ever runs into an emergency on the road in the winter, Stuber said she always keeps a few things handy in her car.

“Extra blankets. We keep a change of clothes, ice scraper,” Stuber said.

That was a lesson the mother and former EMT learned from experience.

“In January, a couple of years ago, the alternator went in my car and I was three hours from home with the newborn," Stuber said. "So, thankfully, I had blankets and was able to wrap the baby up and stay warm that way until a friend could get there with the tow truck.”

Robert Young’s Auto & Truck’s office manager, Beth Davis, said once winter hits, their towing calls triple. That’s why she said now is the time to prepare.

“Gloves and a blanket, snacks and a flashlight and absolutely water," Davis said. "I just keep a whole case of water in my car.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation recommends you keep these items in your car:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Ice scraper
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Jumper cables
  • Blankets or quilts
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food (nuts, energy bars)
  • Abrasive material for traction (cat litter, sand)
  • Shovel

VDOT also says drivers should check:

  • Brakes and tires
  • Battery and ignition system
  • Antifreeze and thermostat
  • Windshield wipers and de-icing washer fluid
  • Headlights, tail and brake lights, blinkers and emergency flashers
  • Exhaust system, heater and defroster
  • Oil

“Try to prepare for the unexpected because when you’re not expecting it, is when it’s going to happen," Stuber said.

About the Author: