I know you didn't get a push alert about this or a notification on Facebook, but this is Winter Hazards Awareness week in southeast Michigan. Right on cue, our weather by Friday will feel winter-like, with highs staying in the 30s. But we are NOT expecting accumulating snow around here in the next week or so (though if you're going to western or northern Michigan, think lake-effect snow).
Since this is a great time to gather things BEFORE you need them, I've put together a quick test for if you plan on driving your car during the winter season in metro Detroit. All you need to do is give yourself a point for each of these things that you have in your car right now. I'm presuming that you already carry things like a basic tool kit as well as a jack with tire iron or lug wrench. I know some newer cars don't come with these last things, but they can help if you get stuck.
So here are the Big Ten, in no particular order:
- Warm gloves
- Small snow shovel
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Duct tape (be MacGyver)
- Phone charger
- Water and non-perishable food
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Flare and lighter
- Jumper cables
- Sand or cat litter
Based on how many you have in your car right now, figure your number and see how you stack up:
Score of 0-2 - Why are you still reading this? If stores are closed, order some things online right away or just plan on Ubering all winter. Luck can run out.
Score of 3-5 - Better than average for early November. You've got time to add a few things before our first snowstorm.
Score of 6-7 - Excellent preparedness. If things have been in there since last winter, make sure it's all still good. New water bottles and fresh batteries are smart examples.
Score of 8-10 - Can I ride with you this winter? You're my hero. I'll bet you floss twice a day too.
You could use some of the missing items to kick-start your holiday wish list, though it's best to have these things by about Thanksgiving. If it takes until late December to get all your gifts, that'll still probably be in time for our bigger snowstorms.
Think you won't need this stuff because you've got all the phone apps you need to keep you out of trouble? After working 24 hours covering a snowstorm, my car got stuck in a snowdrift on 696, the "best" choice, on my way home. If I hadn't had a small snow shovel, it would have spent the night in the right lane of the highway with big rigs charging by all night long.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I got a 6 on this test. I can't believe I couldn't find my duct tape.