There is a piece of equipment that can save your life. Stick with me for a minute, and I'll tell you how.
Tonight, a huge portion of the midwest, from the Canadian border to Texas, is struggling to recover from fierce winter storms that have stranded hundreds of motorists in white-out conditions and blizzard-driven snow drifts. In the midst of the holiday season, traffic is heavy as friends and family members travel to get together, placing more people than usual at risk. Even if you're an experienced winter driver, it is so easy to become blinded by the snow, slide off the road, or plow into a drift and get stuck.
The trouble is that most travelers are not prepared to spend hours or even days in their vehicles awaiting rescue. No — most folks think they're always going to be able to make the trip without incident, so they don't bother to take a sleeping bag, food, water, and other necessary items for winter survival. When they get stranded, they run the vehicle engine so they can operate the heater to stay warm. Before long, they're out of gas, and now they can't move even if the snowplows come along and clear a path.
If you think I'm kidding, just read this report from the Associated Press — "It's really been horrible," Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said. "Although we live in north Texas and get a lot of cold weather, we weren't prepared for the significant amount of snow that we've received. Only two of the sheriff department's vehicles have four-wheel drive, so rescuers used their own pickups and the heavy 5-ton brush trucks normally used to fight fires to get to motorists, many of whom ran out of gas while they were stuck in traffic stalled by the storm." This is serious business, and people die right in their vehicles — not always from accidents, but also from hypothermia.
So if you don't already have an adapter in your vehicle, get one and carry it always. It could make all the difference in the world.