Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week: Preparing your vehicle for winter weather

MADISON, Wis. — Winter is upon us in Wisconsin, and not only does that mean plenty of snowfall and frigid cold temperatures, but that also means you should get prepared as well.

This week is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, and over the next few nights, our weather team will get you prepared for winter’s worst weather.

One simple way to get ready for the winter is to break out your winter emergency kit for your car.

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When traveling long distances or even your daily commute to work, it is highly recommended to keep an updated emergency kit in your car. If you get stuck somewhere, you’ll want to keep yourself warm and comfortable until help arrives.

Let’s start with the basics. Keep a set of warm, dry clothes in your car with a blanket, mittens, socks and a warm hat. An ice scraper or snow brush is needed to keep your vision clear before driving.

Bottled water and high-calorie snacks are also great to keep on hand for some sustenance if you have to wait a while for help. Try to keep the water in the back seat as well, as most trunks are not heated so the water will likely stay frozen longer in the trunk on those extremely cold days.

Keep some road flares or reflective warning triangles on hand for added visibility at night as well. A first aid kit and a multi-tool are also a must year-round.

This is not only good for the wintertime but if you ever needed minor medical help. Jumper cables are also useful if your battery is dead, as a nice Wisconsinite can help get you back on your wheels.

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Now for the few things that you may not realize could help you out during the harsh Wisconsin winters.

A bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter will help give your car extra traction if you are stuck on some ice or a slick patch.

A collapsible or folding snow shovel can help dig your car out before you even try to drive anywhere on those days with heavy snowfall.

Also, for longer trips, you may want to think about keeping a sleeping bag and plenty of hand and feet warmers on hand.

If you get stuck in an area far from a city during a major storm, it might be a while before help can arrive, so you have to try and stay warm any way you can in those situations.

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It is always wise to be prepared, and in the wintertime, just having these items in your car at all times could make all the difference when winter weather hazards strike.