Winter Car Safety: having the right supplies crucial, MHP says

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 11:10 PM Jan 22 2013
Winter Driving safety
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

"We live out of town, so we never know where you might end up" said Bozeman resident Jeff Harmon.

He said the drive into town isn't always safe, so he's prepared in case something happens when he's driving.

"Here's our jumper cables" he said, pulling items out of the back of his Subaru. In the winter, Harmon said he keeps extra supplies on hand in his car.

"We carry sleeping bags, and water and food in the winter when we travel somewhere" he said.

And Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Cook said it's crucial all Montanans do.

"Road conditions can change often" he said.

When winter weather strikes, "it's always a good idea to have a shovel, perhaps a sandbag or kitty litter for increased traction, also tire chains and a tow rope" Trooper Cook said.

If a motorist breaks down or gets stuck, it could be a long time before they get help- especially if there isn't any cell service.

"Keep a blanket in your car in case you break down- you have something to stay warm. Extra food, extra water" Trooper Cook recommended.

He said the first thing to do if something happens and you slide off the road? Turn on your hazard lights and make sure to stay put in your car until help arrives.

He said it's "a lot easier to find a vehicle on the side of the road, than a human being wondering down the road."

For stranded motorists that want to keep their cars on to stay warm, Trooper Cook suggest cracking the windows to prevent toxic fumes like carbon monoxide- and make sure the tailpipe is clear of snow.

Billings resident Heather Moos said she's been in that situation before.

"In my four-wheel drive, I was stuck a couple times" she said. Someone helped get her out, but she says she makes sure to keep her car stocked up.

"Always water, Cliff Bars, protein bars- any kind of food that will sustain me" she said.

Trooper Cook said having those items stocked in the car will help stranded motorists, until help arrives to get them out.