Don’t wait for snow: What you need to know to get your car ready now

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ST. LOUIS — On Monday night, reports came in of snowflakes and sleet pellets in parts of Missouri. It is a big reminder that now is the time to prepare for winter weather impacts on the roads.

No one wants to be stranded in the cold if you hit a traffic jam or have a breakdown.

“Now is the time you want to get everything ready. You don’t want to wait until we have a big storm coming in. One: because if you wait, the stores are probably going to be sold out of everything you need. And two: it’s just good to have this stuff prepared in your vehicle ahead of time,” Nick Chabarria, a spokesperson with AAA, said.

Have items in your car that will help you stay safe, stay warm, and be visible to others. Items like a blanket, extra gloves, a flashlight or flares, an extra bottle of water, snacks, and, of course, a good ice scraper.

Keep your gas tank at least half full and be sure to have a working cellphone charger. Remember, tow truck drivers and road clearing crews are battling the elements too.

“Wait times could be a little bit longer. That’s where some of these items could help keep you comfortable but, additionally, they could help save your life,” Chabarria said.

Now is also the time to give your vehicle a good maintenance check, especially the battery, tire pressure and tread, and wiper blades and washer fluid.

“Get everything ready now,” he said. Get it ready over this long Thanksgiving weekend and be prepared for when we do get that winter weather.”

Items to consider having in your vehicle this winter

  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Blankets
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Mobile phone and car charger pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services

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