Autumn and winter along the Front Range is a busy time for Alpine Towing and Recovery. As our name suggests, we aren’t performing the easy roadside assistance recoveries you may see on the prairie, we often have to haul vehicles back up a considerable distance just to get them onto the roadway.
We aren’t trying to be grim, only underscoring a point. If you are driving the winding roads that surround the Buena Vista, Salida, and Woodland Park communities where we are based, if you go off the road in a whiteout or at night, it could be a time before anyone notices your vehicle.
Therefore, everyone traveling the Front Range in autumn and winter should carry a winter emergency kit in their car, truck, or big rig. A kit is no substitute for letting people know when to expect you or when you departed from your previous destination, but if you can’t gain cell connectivity or are out of CB range, the kit may be the difference between life and death in extreme weather.
At the minimum, you should have traction devices, a shovel, windshield scraper, and a hand broom for clearing snow away from your vehicle. A sleeping bag or wool blanket will help keep you from being miserable in the cold and allow kneeling on the ground to dig or install chains. A warm hat and extra gloves are a must if you have to clear snow from a wheel well. A small flashlight and a radio that can share the same type of spare batteries is a good idea. You should carry some water and a few high calorie energy bars. A tinned candle and matches can become a small heater or even thaw snow for extra water. A small first aid kit and a Swiss Army Knife or a multi-tool can tackle a surprising variety of unexpected problems.
If you have the space, carrying some cat litter, jumper cables, and a tow strap means you could rescue yourself from a stranding by yourself or with the help of a passerby.
Whatever you do, if stranded, stay with your car this time of year. It is the shelter you already have, even if it quit running. It’s also easier to find you and your car rather than you by your footprints.
Hopefully, you can call Alpine Towing and Recovery for roadside assistance instead.