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December 28, 2015
I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas weekend. In South Dakota, we had sunshine and green grass on Christmas Day, but by sundown, a full-fledged blizzard had stormed into the area, and we ended up having a white Christmas after all.
In our neck of the woods, having a winter survival kit in the vehicle is very important. I keep mine in the back of the car, and it includes items such as water, snacks, blankets, shovel, flash light, and other necessities that might be useful in case of a winter emergency like being stranded in a snowy ditch.
I will never forget the blizzard of 1997, where one woman was stranded in a ditch and snow plows were unable to reach her for days. The news stations called her on occasion to check on her well-being, and the anchors would broadcast her updates on the evening news for all of us to listen to. Of course, blizzards like that are few and far between. However, it’s always wise to be prepared for the worst, and with smartphones and the available apps that can assist travelers, help is just a click away.
In addition to the winter survival kit, a new smartphone app developed by North Dakota State University Extension is now available for download that will help people traveling in areas where roads might be icy or snowed in. Called the Winter Survival Kit smartphone app, this free option is available for iPhones and Android smartphones.
The app allows users to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance and roadside assistance. Users can also designate emergency contacts to be alerted in an emergency situation.
Additionally, the app will determine your geographic location if you become stranded along the road. It can also calculate how long your engine can run on the remaining fuel in your tank. Plus, it will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to periodically turn off your engine and check your exhaust pipe for snow buildup to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
If that wasn’t enough, the app also lists the physical items you need in your winter survival kit and tips to prepare your vehicle for winter driving.
How is the winter weather in your neck of the woods? What do you include in your winter survival kit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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