BOISE – Heading out for a winter festival, to hit the slopes or see the sights?  AAA offers these tips to keep the weekend fun and safe:

  • Customize your emergency kit.  You already know the basics – food and water for people and pets, a first aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, some flares or reflectors, and basic tools.  But winter recreation requires a few adjustments.  “Consider bringing a collapsible shovel to clear away snow, and a tarp to use as a moisture barrier if you need to kneel or lay down to change a tire or put on traction chains.  And even if you’re heading out on a day trip into the back country, bring along extra warm clothing and blankets, just in case,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “If you need to regain traction, having some sand or kitty litter in the car can really help.  If necessary, sacrifice a floor mat to get back on the move in an emergency.”
  • Share your plans.  Tell a friend or loved one where you’ll be and when.  That way, they can act on your behalf if you fail to arrive.  Don’t rely exclusively on social media to “spread the word.”
  • Don’t blindly follow your GPS.  If a road doesn’t look maintained, turn around.

“If you’re stuck and waiting for help, use flares or a brightly colored cloth tied to your vehicle to signal that you need assistance.  Make sure the tailpipe is clear of snow and debris if you need to warm up the inside of your vehicle, but only run the engine intermittently to conserve fuel,” Conde said.  “Above all, keep calm – your advance preparation will pay off.”