Here in Minnesota, we're familiar with the idea of emergency kits for winter travel, but it's easy to slip into the, 'It's not gonna happen to me' mentality? These tips from COUNTRY Financial could help you survive when a simple trip over the river & through the woods turns into a dangerous situation.

Hauling a shovel could come in handy if your car lands in a ditch, and having cat litter on standby could offer the much needed traction in order get out. And when you burn all those calories digging through the snow, a jar of peanut butter on reserve could provide some nourishment.

“Winter weather can turn a simple trip into a dangerous situation.” says Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative with COUNTRY Financial. “Being prepared can make the difference between life and death when facing hypothermia if left stranded.”

No one plans on being stranded, but with Minnesota winter weather it's always a possibility. Increase your preparedness this winter by building a Winter Travel  Emergency Kit with household items you already have on hand.

Start with the following:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell phone and car charger
  • Flashlight with new batteries
  • Candle with matches or lighter
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Shovel
  • Hazard sign or brightly colored flag
  • Cat litter or sand
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food items
  • Warm clothing, winter boots, gloves
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Battery jump pack or jumper cables

If you live in a rural area or are hitting the road for a longer trip, consider adding the following:

  • Flares and emergency strobes
  • Light sticks
  • Disposable hand/toe warmers
  • Toilet paper
  • Basic tool kit
  • Tire Chains/Tow Rope

And finally, before you hit the road during inclement winter weather -- be sure to let someone know when you're leaving and where you're going. Current winter road conditions are available to travelers in Minnesota at 511mn.org.

MnDOT also has free mobile apps available in Apple's App Store and at Google Play for Android users.

Merry Christmas and safe holiday travels!

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