Tech Tip: In addition to a snow brush, keep a backup battery or car charger in your car as part of your winter driving kit.
As we start adjusting to winters arrival, we have to male a few changes both to how we drive and what we carry with us in our car. Snow brushes and a blanket are great additions to any car during the winter, but there are a few technology solutions we can also include as we winterize the car.
If you don’t already have one, make sure you include a car charger for your phone. The last thing you want is to be spun out in a ditch on a snowy evening and have your phone die on you. Most smart phones have moved over to the Micro USB adapter, meaning 1 charger packed away is probably all you need as it will charge most phones now and in the future. Apple does remain stubborn and have it’s own proprietary charger so make sure you have one that will work if you use an iPhone.
Another great item to include is an emergency battery backup for your phone. In essence, it is a portable battery pack that you can fit in a glove box or bag to provide emergency power. Most battery packs can charge a phone 1 or 2 times before it needs to be charged itself. While a car charger is handy, its useless if your car battery is dead. It is important to remember that cold can affect battery performance so if you decide to get a portable battery pack, make sure its checked or charged up regularly. Even better would be to keep it in a bag or pocket where it will stay warm enough not to lose its charge.
Another option to carrying a battery pack is to store a portable power generator for charging your phone. Some hand crank flashlights have built in chargers for a phone. A solar charger is also a great idea, but just remember it’s darker in winter so a solar charger will be at its least efficient during the winter. Another great tool is the PowerPot by Power Practical. It generates enough electricity to charge a phone by heating water in it over a stove. I originally bought one for camping, but found it extremely useful during my recent kitchen renovations. I now keep it I’m my car in the event I get stranded at the side of the road. Fortunately melting snow is a great way for it to produce electricity. You can buy a small camp stove and fuel tank that fits right inside and stashes away in your trunk easily.
Winter presents its own set of challenges for driving, and preparing for those challenges is critical. By preparing in advance you will be ready for any issue that arises, and still be connected at the time you need it most.