On Sunday, blustery, snowy weather moved into Southern Quebec, leading to two major car pile-ups on Highways 40 and 640 just outside Montreal.
Road conditions were slick, to say the least, and the blowing snow hindered visibility. Luckily, despite the more than 75 vehicles involved in the two crashes, police only reported a few minor injuries. According to a report by CBC News, paramedics quickly transported a pregnant woman from the scene at Highway 40 in Saint-Sulpice as a precaution. But with dozens are cars scattered along the highway, the rest of the road warriors were stuck where they were for well over an hour.
Kids playing hockey on highway 40 waiting for pileup to clear (video Mathieu Daniel Wagner Radio-Canada) pic.twitter.com/D3HwDEJLtQ
— Steve Rukavina, CBC (@Steverukavina) January 27, 2019
In true Canadian fashion, a few of the motorists — who just happened to be carrying sticks — broke out in a game of road hockey. It’s just one of many prime examples of Canadians living up to stereotypes the rest of the world projects on us — like this moose who showed up outside a Calgary man’s home to cheer on Team Canada. It’s also an excellent example of why stocking your car for a winter road trip is always important to ensure you arrive at your destination safely and with your sanity, especially in winter time. Because even if you don’t end up in a precarious, life-threatening situation, there is a good chance you’re going to run into some roadblocks along the way. Here’s what we recommend packing in case you do:
An emergency kit: In winter, a small accident can turn dire if you’re not prepared, which is why you should always stock your car with an emergency kit — fill a duffle bag with items like matches, a candle, a coffee can, kitty litter, a blanket, a multi-tool, hand warmers, and a flashlight to name just some of the essentials. For more details on what you should include, and why each item is important, click here.
Water and snacks: This one may not seem like a big deal, but it’s important if you’re driving through more remote or rural areas in the winter time. That general store you typically stop at on your way to the cottage to pick up some additional drinks, chips or granola bars to get through the last lag of the trip? There’s a good chance it’s a seasonal shop that closes in wintertime or reduces its hours.
A cell phone charger: In 2019, it almost seems comical to include this on a specific list of “must-haves.” After all, is there any instance in today’s world when having your phone charged isn’t the number one priority? Still, it’s an important one, not only for emergencies, but to keep loved ones updated on your whereabouts in case the weather changes, or as one more tool to tide over the kids when the slushy roads extend the drive by an extra hour.
Games, books, podcasts, and a good playlist: Do not underestimate the importance of packing extra entertainment in the winter. Depending on the conditions and number of roadside stops available, there may be less opportunity to pull over, stretch your legs and stave off boredom, which is why having your phone full of the latest podcast downloads, a few good paper backs, and some Sodoku is that much more important.
A GPS: Because winter weather is so unpredictable, we advise always planning your route and stops ahead of time. For the same reason, there’s a good chance an accident, road closures, or inclement weather can lead you to unexpectedly changing your route, so it’s always best to have a good GPS on hand in the event that you’re forced to go off course.
Warm winter clothing: We understand if you’re not comfortable driving in warmest winter gear. In fact, most experts would advise against driving in clunky boots that make it difficult to feel the pedal under your feet or thick gloves that mute steering wheel feedback. Even a large, puffy jacket can restrict your arm movements and response time. That said, just because it’s warm inside your car, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare to be outside in case of an emergency, so you should always ensure the proper winter gear is packed in an easily accessible location for every passenger.
Hockey sticks: Okay, so this is certainly not something we’d typically put on the list, but after witnessing the resourceful drivers and passengers caught up in the recent mess on Quebec’s roadways, we can’t think of a better way to pass time in traffic than a quick game of road hockey.