by Karen Brier

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February 7, 2013
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Winter driving survival kit critical

Lately I've been doing a lot of driving back and forth between Gardnerville and San Ramon for work. With the terrific weather we've had, it's tempting to take it for granted that the roads will be clear and the conditions safe.

But sometime I know I will have to leave or come back right in the middle of a snow storm.

I've taken some precautions that make me feel a little better, especially after reading about the tragedy in December for the couple who got stuck off of Highway 88 in Hope Valley.

First, if it's really bad, I don't go. I arrange to conference into the meeting and live to meet another day.

Second, when I do go, I try to make sure I'm driving during daylight hours. More likely to be other traffic during the day and any dangerous situations are more visible to anyone passing by who could help me.

Third, I drive a car that has a full tank of gas, is regularly serviced and winterized, handles well in the snow and ice and has good tires.

Last, but not least, I'm prepared when those aren't enough. I call in every hour so that my family knows how far I got in case we lose contact. I have a collection of things that live in the back of my Subaru that make me feel just a little more secure:

Fully charged cell phone with a car adaptor in case I need a charge;

Map and directions for alternate routes in case of road closures;

Spare tire, jack, lug wrench, tire chains;

Car repair kit with jumper cables, flares, flat tire retire;

Flashlight, screw driver, hammer, neat sheet and a leatherman tool;

Emergency heat blanket, paraffin candle, matches, toilet paper and a trowel;

Hand warmers, coat, hat, gloves, boots;

Bottled water, dried fruit and of course, chocolate.

Consumer Reports publishes a longer list and as time goes on, I'll probably try to add those things, but for now, I feel pretty good about the steps I've taken to keep myself and my family safe when we have to be on the road in the winter.

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Reach Karen Brier at, or 790-0072.

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 7, 2013 03:56PM Published Feb 7, 2013 03:55PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.