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Pack an Emergency Kit before Hitting the Road
Emergency preparedness experts say now is the time put together a winter survival kit for your car. The proper supplies could save your life if you're caught out on the road in a storm.
Kits should include a shovel, blanket, flashlight, first aid kit and extra batteries.
"It always helps to have a little safety net just in case you do break down," said Springfield resident Anjalee Patterson.
She is planning on visiting family in Minnesota this month, and refuses to make the trip without supplies to keep her and her baby safe.
"Per my grandmother Margaret, you should always keep a blanket, a flash light, a Snickers and a bottle of water. Blanket in case your car breaks down so you don't freeze to death, a bottle of water so you don't dehydrate, a Snickers so you don't starve to death and a flashlight so you can let people know you need help," Patterson said.
At Springfield's Lakeside True Value, owner Steve Fafoglia says he's been swamped with customers purchasing winter emergency items for their cars.
"You need to keep a shovel in your trunk, a small one, just to dig yourself out if you need it. And make sure you have a spare ice scraper. They break. You go to scrape your windshield and it breaks and you're in the middle of nowhere, it's a problem. So you always want to have a second one on you," Fafoglia said.
Fafoglia also recommends drivers carry traction sand in their cars in case they would get stuck.
"Put the weight of the sand over your back tires. It helps you get traction, but it's also traction sand, so if you get stuck you can throw it under your tires and get out very easily with that. It really grips the ice and you can drive away with it," Fafoglia said.
Red Cross officials say dressing in layers is essential to driving in the winter.
"Probably the biggest problem that folks find themselves in is that they just don't dress appropriately. They think they're just going down the street, down the road, maybe a few miles to the next community and something goes wrong and when the temperatures get as low as they do now, it's a question of minutes before you're suspect to exposure," said Jeff Regan, Interim Executive Director at the Illinois Capital Area of the American Red Cross.
Experts also recommend checking the air pressure in your tires before hitting the road.