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Tips to keep yourself and your vehicle safe in extreme cold

Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 8:48 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The level of cold we’ll face on the South Plains this weekend is rare. The temperature at the Lubbock airport has not dropped below zero since 1989; but it’s likely that will happen Monday morning.

This not only challenges us, but our vehicles. Prepare ahead of the cold and the snow, if have to head out and in the unlikely scenario you get stranded.

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Although we’re used to the comforts of heated vehicles and seat warmers, plan for it to take a while for help to arrive if you are stranded. Wear layers of warm clothes. Carry gloves and a warm hat, along with a blanket. Have some bottles of water and food like protein bars, something that won’t go bad any time soon and can keep you nourished.

Power

The cold puts added stress on your vehicle’s battery. Carry jumper cables so it’s a quick fix with help from another driver if your battery is dead.

Your phone can be a lifeline, but it’s no use when it’s out of juice. A vehicle charger is handy year-round, helping make sure your phone is ready for hours of use. You may need to jot down information when make a call, so keep a pen or pencil along with a notepad.

Traction

A small, foldable shovel can help remove compacted snow from around the wheels or under your vehicle.

Kitty litter can help provide traction if you do get stuck. Even better, safety absorbent that’s sold at auto parts stores can help get you out of a tight spot.

If you want to get a little more technical and prepped, a portable air compressor can help inflate tires that have dropped below the recommended PSI in the cold.

Be seen

At night or in whiteout conditions, it’s easy to lose a vehicle and for people to get disoriented. Road flares and a small flashlight can help make you be noticed and also help you see around your vehicle.

Heat source

In the unlikely scenario that you’re stuck for a while, you may not be able to keep the vehicle running for the entire time. You can generate heat with a few small things around your house: a metal container (like an empty paint can), a candle (or several candles) and a lighter or matches.

You’ll likely never need to put these tools to use, but it’s always better to have and not use than the other way around.

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