How to stay safe when car trouble strikes in the cold

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It's better to be ready to handle a problem before it happens. It's why school practice fire drills, and police men learn self defense, but what about if your car breaks down? Are you ready?

"In this cold weather you don't want to have to walk far with the wind blowing like this," says Greg Creech from Jonesboro.

So if you get in your car this winter, and the engine doesn't want to crank, will you be prepared to beat the cold temperatures?

"I don't think about until I actually will break down and then I'll think about it I'm sure," says John Whisnant from Jonesboro.

"I keep a blanket of two usually, you been stranded before, had trouble with the truck and was glad we had something to cover up with," says Creech

Medic One Director of Operations Tim Brickell says research has shown if you're stuck on the side of the road in these teeth chattering temperatures... "It's best for you to stay in the vehicle, with the vehicle, until help arrives," says Brickell.

Brickell says it's normally not a good idea to leave your car, but if you do leave for help, it's important to limit your exposure outside. "Even the best dressed, warm cloths, after a period of time takes it's toll on you," he says.

A toll that could put you at risk of frost bite or hypothermia. "Frostbite, second degree hypothermia, is one of the worst medical emergencies you can have if you're stuck out there, and it's dangerous because often time you don't even know it's happening to you," says Brickell.

He says with the cold temperatures we've seen the past few days, frost bite would start to set in within a couple of hours, and even less time for children and the elderly.

The AAA website suggests having a winter weather kit in your car with items like:

- jumper cables

- heavy gloves and a blanket

- emergency service information

- a flashlight with extra batteries

to name a few.

As for Brickell, he has a few suggestions of his own.

"Make sure you have a change of cloths, in case they get wet, and always be sure to cover your head. The majority of your heat loss can be contributed to not having your head covered," says Brickell.

For more helpful tips on what to put in your winter weather kit just go to

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