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Discovery & User Experience

My Favorite App: Winter Survival Kit

Every so often, I sort through the apps on my phone and delete those that seem redundant (I really don’t need more than about three different weather apps, do I?) or outdated (do I still need the special app for the conference I went to six months ago? No!) or that I simply haven’t used more than once or twice since downloading them (hello, Wolfram Alpha). But there’s one that I’ve downloaded, yet never used, that I’m not going to delete – and that’s the Winter Survival Kit.

home screen of Winter Survival Kit app This app, developed by a team at North Dakota State (where they know from winter storms), is intended for drivers who may find themselves unexpectedly stranded due to a blizzard or ice storm. It includes instructions for preparing oneself – how to check your car before the bad weather hits, what to pack in an emergency travel kit – as well as a number of features that kick in when you touch the big red “I’m Stranded!” button. If you’ve input the capacity of your gas tank ahead of time, it will provide estimates for how long your fuel can be expected to hold out; if you’ve input emergency contact information it will offer that; and it will provide occasional life-saving reminders (such as telling you to clear snow from around your tailpipe to prevent carbon monoxide buildup). Of course, some of this information (contact numbers, as well as GPS and other data helpful in an emergency) is probably already available on your phone, but this app gathers it all together in one place so you can find it even if you are panicked. And it automates a few things, such as sending out auto-alerts to your emergency contacts.

All in all, a great app, and one I hope none of us will ever have to use!

Free; available for iOS and Android.

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