The first time I drove was in a freshly snow covered parking lot at 10pm with my dad, who was fond of frequently putting me into uncomfortable positions and teaching me in the moment how to get out of them. (He lived much more dangerously than my mother.)
Yep – I learned to drive in the snow, the slush, the ice, the rain, the mountains – all our terrain was extreme. Hence why I loved my Jeep and her 4 wheel drive so much.
One year I decided to drive to LA in October to visit my then boyfriend – and, instead of leaving the 12 hour drive for an early morning start, I thought to make it very early, and start driving at midnight. Didn’t even check the weather reports or anything, just packed my stuff and hurled it in the car.
I made it about 3 hours southeast and was headed toward Vegas when suddenly the light snowfall had turned to a serious storm – and it was sticking. To the road, to my windshield, to my tires, everything. As the traffic ahead of me started turning into an endless red sea of brakelights, we made our way from 75 mph, down to 45, down to 10 in a very short time.
Now when I say snowstorm, I mean, now this thing had morphed into a complete blizzard white-out. Like, vortex type snow that’s hurling at you spinning, and all you can hardly make out ahead of you are the foggy taillights one car in front of you.
Ultimately, a snow plow started guiding us all to a petrol station in the middle of absolute nowhere, and we were corralled like sheep into the parking lot and told to wait until the storm passed a bit – especially the people who had no 4 wheel drive, no chains on their tires or anything. We ended up staying in that lot for a good 2-3 hours, which felt like a decade, and it was freezing outside (obviously). I alternated between turning my car off to save gas and battery, to turning it on for heat, to running into the gas station… if there was anywhere that should be selling those car powered electric blankets, it was here – and yet, none to be found. And of course, headed to California, I had only packed light weather wear, only one sweater and one sweatshirt, which I layered on instantly.
It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry in an emergency situation; so here is what I recommend if you are planning a long drive:
First, we have the Cobra JumPack for Jump Starting your car ($137).
This handy little tool allows you not only to give your car a jump, but you can also charge your phone with it, and it comes equipped with a built-in flashlight and SOS emergency light. We’re already rest assured thinking about this being in the car!
We’ve also selected an alternative, less-expensive pocket-sized Antigravity Jump Starter and power supply ($90)
Next, there’s the 2” Blind Spot Mirror Pack ($5) which allows you further awareness if you’ve got a model that doesn’t allow you the best visibility at all times, or if you end up renting an RV for a road trip. We can always use more visibility, so to best avoid accidents if you feel like you may not be able to see as clearly as you’d like, go ahead and one-click order these guys.
One of the most amazing tools on the market is Fix-A-Flat ($10)
Equipped with a hose for your tires, this canned magic aerosol tire inflator can seal your tire in no time so you can safely get off the highway and into a mechanic to replace it.
Now. One thing we never want to imagine is if we get trapped in our car, what do we do? We can hope we’ll be in a highly populated area where there will be people available to call for help — but on the off chance that’s not the case, BlingSting’s Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker Tool – pictured – ($24) will get you out of a tight spot (no pun intended) if you need it. It’s compact, easy to access, and comes in a variety of colors. We suggest you keep it in the glove compartment or center console for easiest availability.
Something I’ve never thought about until I got stranded in a snowstorm in the middle of the night, is an Electric Blanket that connects to your car ($18). It comes with an LED light, and packed away in a storage case so you can keep it hidden away. This is perfect if you travel often, love road trips, and especially if you live in a cold climate.
Another product ideal for cold climates, or even areas that experience heavy rain, is Rain-X ($10). It removes frost, ice, bugs, and creates a super-shield against rain for relief if you get caught in a storm.
AAA has compiled an Emergency Roadside Kit ($25) filled with emergency forms, a booster cable, flashlight, batteries, poncho, duct tape, and first aid supplies.
Ultimately, I’ve written it off as something stupid I did in my early 20’s, but in hindsight, I should have A) packed an emergency kit, or at least a blanket and some water, B) checked the weather report, and C) waited until normal early driving hours to make sure I was well-rested before taking that familiar drive.
It’s totally not worth being compromised into a bad situation, and had the storm gotten worse, I wouldn’t have wanted to see what would have happened if I needed to wait it out longer. Point being – don’t assume nothing bad can happen to you while driving!