Winter is almost halfway through and for many of us this has meant cold days filled with snow and ice. As much as we'd like to stop our lives and retreat inside until late March, we simply can't. Instead, we will be traveling to and from our daily lives in our trusty vehicle. This makes having a winter vehicle survival kit extremely important.
To help, we've put together a list of 12 things you should carry in your vehicle to be ready for an emergency.
1. Ice Scraper
The most basic of the tools needed to make driving possible in the winter. You can purchase one here.
If you live somewhere that can get feet of snow in just a day, you'll need a shovel to get your parked car out of a snow pile. For many of us though, having a full size shovel in our car is just not practical. If this is your case, a folding shovel might be your best option. You can find the list of the 10 Best Folding Shovels here.
3. Jumper Cables
It's always a good idea to keep jumper cables in your car, but you'll want them even more when it's -10 degrees out. Not sure how to jump start a car? Check out this article from Popular Mechanics: How to Jump Start a Car.
4. Tool Kit
You'll want to carry your basic tools- pliers, screwdrivers, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, a spare fuse, and a sharp knife to name a few. Even if you're not sure how to use them, chances are someone who stops to help you will be able to.
5. Spare Tire, Jack & Lug Wrench
A jack is what lifts a vehicle to change a tire and a lug wrench removes the lug nuts that hold your wheel on, and both are essential for changing a flat tire. You can Learn How to Change a Flat Tire in this Bridgestone Tire article.
6. Tow Straps
Good to have if you know how to use them correctly, and if you can find another vehicle capable of pulling you out of a sticky situation.
7. Emergency Signaling
Bright colored flags, reflective markers, or road flares are good to have to alert others of your presence on the side of the road, or to signal for help. You can shop Orion for roadside signaling products.
If you are unfortunate enough to have an emergency occur at night, you'll need a flashlight. Make sure you occasionally check and change the batteries, so your flashlight is always working.
9. Phone Car Charger
You can't call for help if your cell phone is dead. You can purchase a Dual USB Car Charger here.
10. First Aid Kit
Keep the first aid essentials in your car, and add any spare medications that anyone traveling in your car might need. The Red Cross shows What to Include in Your First Aid Kit here.
11. Extra Clothes & Blanket
You'll want extra socks for when your original pair gets wet from shoveling snow. You'll also need extra hats, gloves, and blankets to stay warm if your car breaks down or you have to walk a mile to find help.
12. Food & Water
In some situations, you might be waiting awhile before help arrives. Make sure you have food to hold you over, and water to replenish you. Also, be sure to leave room in the water bottle to allow for freezing.
Additional Tips & Suggestions:
- Carry a vehicle rescue escape tool like the Resqme. The Resqme has a seat belt cutter and a window breaker.
- Keep your vehicle service. Check out AAA's Winter Car Care Checklist to see your cars maintenance needs.
- Try to always have a half tank of gas in your vehicle.
- Have a working key fob to get into your car easily during the winter months.
This may seem like a lot to purchase, and a lot to have in your vehicle at one time, but can become a necessity in the times of a winter emergency.
If you can't keep all the items in your car, put them in a box and place the box in an area where you park your vehicle. This way you can leave the emergency kit out until you leave for a trip with a forecast of bad weather.
What do you keep in your vehicle for weather emergencies? Let us know in the comments below!