*For related video, watch above.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – With heavy lake effect snow in the forecast, it’s a good time to consider what items to keep in your car in case you get stuck while driving this winter.

Even though people in Northeast Ohio are used to driving in winter weather, it’s helpful to prepare for the unexpected.

Many parents will tell you to put a blanket in your car.

If you’re stuck for any period, it can help keep you a little warmer.

AAA agrees. Their list is long but thorough.

  •       Cell phone and car charger
  •         First-aid kit
  •         Blanket
  •         Drinking water/snacks for everyone in the car including pets
  •         Flashlight with extra fresh batteries
  •         Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
  •         Basic set of tools along with duct tape and car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors
  •         Ice scraper/snow brush
  •         Jumper cables/jump pack
  •         Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
  •         Tarp, raincoat and gloves
  •         Shovel

Winter driving tips

Often when there is a serious winter weather event, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and first responders will urge people to stay home when they can.

That option is not available to many people who must get to work and school.

If you are driving, here are some tips to follow from ODOT.

  • Clear the snow before you go: It’s not just a slogan, it helps keep your field of vision clear and keeps the snow packed onto your car from hitting other vehicles on the road.
  • Don’t crowd the plow: Snowplows are there to do a job so everyone can get where they need to safely. Snowplow drivers have more blind spots than other vehicles. Stay at least 2 to 3 car lengths behind the plow. That will also help you avoid snow clouds from what they’re clearing on the road.
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Reduce speed
  • Give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely