While you’re traveling around The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with your family and friends, be sure to be prepared in case of roadside breakdown or a situation where you may be stuck or stranded. In this area, winter weather conditions can and do arise in every month of the year. You must be prepared for your own safety.
A good in-vehicle emergency and safety kit is highly recommended. There are many things you should have on hand, no matter what the season. My kit always remains the same every season since I do spend time in the higher elevations all year.
I will talk about the basics first, then the winter specific items.
- Always carry a basic first aid kit. This should include basics like bandaids, aspirin, gauze and tape, antibiotic ointments, burn spray, and other items that you may feel necessary.
- A pair of jumper cables or a battery charger is always a great idea, you never know when your battery may need a charge, or you may run into someone else that needs assistance.
- A bright flashlight with extra batteries will for sure come in handy as well as flares.
- Water and snacks in case of emergency is a must. If you have children or pets, always have some of their favorite foods and water or snacks on hand in case you get stuck.
- Carry extra dry clothing in case you should get wet. Blankets and towels are also always handy.
- I also carry a small ax and waterproof matches, just in case I need to start a fire.
- My pocket knife is a 10 tool knife, which has been used often.
- A headlamp and some reflective gear are great ideas also so other drivers can see you if you are on the roadside.
- A whistle is also a great item to have to signal for help.
Once you gather up all of these items, a large plastic dry tub is a great place to store them in the back of your vehicle so everything stays dry, and is one place so you know where to find these items in a hurry.
Some winter specific items include:
- Shovels, I say that in plural for many reasons. Sometimes they break while shoveling and sometimes you find someone on the side of the road that does not have one, carry a spare.
- Same goes with snow brush/ice scraper, carry two.
- A good tow strap or tow chain can save you from having to call a towing company, always carry one in your vehicle for assistance in getting pulled out.
- Mountain passes can be icy or snowy anytime of the year, a good set of tire chains is also recommended in case of inclement weather.
- Carry an extra hat and gloves as well as some hand and foot warmers, these items are literally life savers!!
- A bag of kitty litter or a bucket of sand is always great to have if you’re having traction issues! Throw a small amount under the tires to help provide traction.
If you are stuck roadside, always use your reflective gear and headlamp or flashlight so passing drivers can see you.
I know this sounds like a lot to prepare, but you will thank yourself for doing it if you ever get stuck or stranded. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to be prepared.
Travel safe and enjoy The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
AUTHOR: CINDY SHAFFER