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Winter Is Coming. Is Your Car Prepared?

A vehicle entirely submerged in frozen snow.

The trees where I live are beautiful with all their orange and gold leaves, but I know that in just a few weeks all that beauty will be gone and soon replaced with tons of white junk known as "snow." Winter is coming. No, I don't like it much (I love the other three seasons), but after living in northeast Ohio for the past 23 years (and 5 years in western Michigan) I am prepared. In my line of work I have to drive no matter what the conditions are and my car is prepared. Is yours?

Here are a few tips for preparing your car for that freezing, blustery, and potentially dangerous time of the year. Although this list is intended for winter travel, some of the things on this list could be applied to anyone living in almost any part of the country in any season. (Imagine driving across the desert of Arizona — you'd better have enough water, a fully charged cell phone, and a medical kit.)

After you get your car's engine and tires checked out (I take our vehicles to the "car doctor" twice a year — fall and spring — whether they need it or not), make sure your vehicle is stocked with these items. I have actually driven through blizzards (been stuck in one too) and I was very thankful that I had these things on hand:

1. Warmth.

Imagine you are stuck in the "snowmageddon" that crippled Atlanta in 2014. Get a load of these pictures over at The Washington Post.

Tens of thousands of motorists were stranded on icy roads with nowhere to go! How do you stay in your car and stay warm if you run out of gas? Better keep a few blankets in your car. I also keep an extra warm sweatshirt, winter hat and ski mask, warm gloves, scarf, and sunglasses.

If you have to get out and walk miles to "civilization," you sure can't do it in cowboy boots or stilettos. Keep an extra pair of old boots suitable for walking in the snow in the back of your car or truck. I also have some good wool socks stashed away. Cotton is the "fabric of death" since it holds in moisture to your skin. Do NOT wear cotton socks if you have to hike in the snow! Wool repels moisture and keeps your feet warm.

It would not be a bad idea to have long underwear stashed away and some of those little "hand warmers" or "foot warmers" in a package that hunters use. They work great to heat you up for short periods of time.