Believe it or not, winter is here in North-Eastern Pennsylvania. I know, one day the weather is 50 degrees, and the next day the weather is 20 degrees. Honestly, I forget it's February at times. It's easier to do than you think.
Most days the roads are raining and wet, not often icy. This is great because Punxatawny Phil said that we will an early spring, but it's also dangerous because we are forgetting ourselves and putting ourselves at risk. When an isolated cold spell occurs and drops sleet or snow on the Lehigh Valley/ Tri County area motorists may be caught surprised and unprepared.
The deceptively warm weather is making motorists forget that we are still very much in full blown winter. When mother nature remembers herself and decides to drop the temperatures again motorists may not have been as prepared as they would be had the weather been seasonally appropriate.
With the unseasonable weather it is important to have an occasional reminder. So, here is a list of the most important items to ensure you travel with during February months (even in 50 degree weather).
The number one most important item to keep handy in a vehicle during the winter months is the typical ice scraper. Preferably one with a long handle and a brush to easily clean off vehicles. It works even better if a pair of gloves accompanies it :) Trust me, your hands will thank you!
The second best item to keep in the vehicle is extra windshield washer fluid. C'mon, we have all been there, you were 17 years old, driving your old buggy to class when you use unrelenting amounts of washer fluid because you are following an 18-wheeler far too closely. The spray back of salt and road grime is caking up your already dry-rotted wiper blades. The wiper fluid just adds enough juice to keep the screeching of the blades to a low roar. Ok, maybe everyone's experience wasn't as dramatic as mine, but, nevertheless, you know you've run out of wiper fluid one-time-or-another in the winter months! Why doesn't it ever happen in the summer? Just live and learn and keep some extra low temperature windshield washer fluid in the trunk in the winter.
Another top contender, sitting at the number three spot, is a bottle of water. Do not even consider trying to forget the yearly news reports of motorists getting stranded on Interstates (80) and the Pennsylvania turnpike. When sudden winter storms arise and motorists are not slowly eased into winter driving conditions we hear stories of major highway shutdowns. Don't be one to have to ask other vehicles for water. Hopefully you put yourself in a position of having extra water so that you may share with others if a situation arises.
Our remaining contenders all are important and can't really be ranked. In no specific order are: Winter coats, blankets (preferably wool), a full tank of gas, a spare tire and jack, tire chains if needed, bags of cheap cat litter for sprinkling down if your tires are unable to gain traction, small car-sized travel shovel, flares, GPS unit, extra dry-good snacks, snow boots and extra socks in a backpack, and lastly a good flashlight.
Finally, and most importantly, if treacherous winter weather shall fall upon you, ensure you have notified at least one person prior to venturing out in dangerous conditions. This ensures your safety if you should not arrive at your destination timely. Should you become stranded in an isolated area, stay with your vehicle so emergency services can more easily locate you and stay with your GPS devices.
Have safe travels this mild but no-less dangerous winter season!