Snow and cold weather a reminder for car safety

With cold temperatures on the way, now is the time to equip your vehicle with the proper emergency materials.
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 5:49 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The blizzard conditions South Dakota saw last week are gone. But the snow it left still remains, and even colder temperatures are on their way for later this week. It’s a good time now to make sure you have what you need in your vehicle to stay safe.

The need for an emergency kit is important with below freezing temperatures. AAA Spokesperson Shawn Steward said that’s because if you get stuck in bad weather, it could be at least hours before someone is able to help.

“We urge people to think about things that they’ll need to stay safe and warm until help can arrive. Our roadside service crews, law enforcement and others, they have to deal with the same road conditions that you do. If the weather is bad, and you happen to slide off the highway for example, it may take a while for help to arrive.” Steward said.

It’s a messaged echoed by law enforcement and first responders, to be prepared.

“People often times when they leave their home, they’re dressed for a ride in the car where the climate’s controlled. But as soon as those conditions change, they often times aren’t prepared.” Captain Adam Zishka of the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office said.

Along with an emergency kit, Steward said people should check their vehicle’s battery. If it’s at least three to five years old, it runs the risk of dying sooner because of the cold weather.

“Especially when we get in to sub-zero temperatures. Your battery just has to work extra to start an engine, and the battery power is less the lower the temperatures are.” Steward said.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to have a proper kit, as Steward said often times people already have what they need to be prepared. They just need to make a list, and make sure everything is in the vehicle.

“You can assemble a lot of things in an emergency kit just with items you have around the house already. You don’t necessarily have to out and spend a lot of money.” Steward said.

Steward said even if you’re only traveling a short distance for the holidays, to make sure that you have everything you need in your vehicle, and to let someone know ahead of time of your travel plans.