KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Michigan State Police are reminding people to be prepared for the worst when out on the roads this winter. They're recommending drivers put together an emergency kit for when crashes and slide-offs occur.
"It’s very easy to keep a kit in your vehicle," said Michigan State Police F/Lt Dale Hinz. "You can keep it in something as simple as a cardboard box in the trunk."
The winter's first snowfall already led to several crashes throughout West Michigan, including a 32-vehicle pileup on I-94 in Van Buren County. F/Lt. Hinz said in those situations it can take police up to an hour to tend to everyone involved. His first recommendation is to have a fully charged cell phone and a few other things.
"It's always good to have a flashlight," said F/Lt. Hinz. "It's always good to have some extra food like a granola bar or some-type of candy bar, something that's nonperishable that you can keep in their for a while."
He also recommended keeping batteries for the flashlight, jumper cables and even warm blankets in the kit. The sudden single-digit temperatures can feel even just as cold inside vehicles.
"It doesn’t take very long to suffer frostbite," said F/Lt. Hinz. "You’re probably not gonna want to go out on foot looking for help if you’re not dressed for the conditions."
Also having a fix-o-flat handy helps, he said. The most common incident report they receive are flat tires. By having one, drivers can easily fill up their tire and make it to the next service station. And having the kits will keep them safe until officers arrive to help them.
"Putting that emergency kit in your vehicle makes sure that you’re ready at all times," said F/Lt. Hinz.