How to prepare for winter storms in the wake of recent travel nightmares

Local News

It was a traffic nightmare that played out for more than 20 hours: vehicles stuck along the I-95 for a 50-mile stretch in Virginia. The massive snowstorm brought traffic to a halt, leaving motorists trapped.

Then, it was an icy glaze that resulted from the most recent storm that left vehicles stranded along major thoroughfare across the tri-state, including the Hutchinson River Parkwa.

And the winter season is far from over.

PIX11 News spoke with Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA Northeast, for a deep dive into the must haves to battle a winter storm.

He said the first rule of thumb is to make sure your cell phone is charged and ready to go in the event you need to call for help. 

Also, Sinclair said never to abandon your vehicle — staying put could be a lifesaver. Still, having the right tools and essentials are critical when it comes to weathering a winter storm. It’s important to make sure your vehicle is in working order and listen to the weather forecast to stay ahead of the storm.

Important items include a shovel, non-clumping kitty litter to get you out of snow and ice jams safely, a portable jumper, tire pressure gauge, anti-freeze, oil, portable phone charger, snacks, water and a first aid kit. 

While blankets and wearing extra layers will keep you warm, make sure your tank is full because that could be your main source of heat.

“An engine at idle can burn one gallon per hour,” Sinclair said. “So, most of the economy cars have a 14- or 15-gallon tank, which is good for about 14 or 15 hours.”

When it comes to driving an ​electric vehicle, Sinclair said you might be in better shape than if you had a gasoline-powered vehicle, because you’re not running the vehicle on fuel. 

Follow these simple tips to better your chances of getting through a winter storm safely.

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