Items to keep in your winter car kit
You should keep some items in your car year-round, such as drinking water and medical supplies. But in colder seasons, you should stock other supplies specific to winter weather conditions, like snow scrapers and shovels. The items in a winter car emergency kit can help you in case you break down in the snow, making sure that you’re as comfortable as possible and ideally back on the road as soon as possible.
1. Fresh water
Fresh water is an essential element of a winter emergency car kit. If you find yourself stranded indefinitely due to a snowstorm, you need to stay hydrated. While it’s a good idea to keep your car stocked with fresh water year-round, this is especially important in winter, when a storm could immobilize you without much warning. One easy way to keep water from freezing in your car is to store it inside a cooler or other insulated container. Make sure to change your water supply a couple times a year so that it stays fresh.
2. Nonperishable snacks
Food is the next most important item in a winter emergency kit. If you’re stranded in your car during a storm, snacks can help you keep your energy up. You should include shelf-stable snacks that can withstand both hot and cold temperatures. Some great options include nuts, granola, protein bars, and jerky. As with water, you’ll want to swap these out every so often and make sure that they aren’t expired.
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3. First aid kit
A staple of any emergency car kit, a first aid kit is a must-have, whether you get into an accident due to a winter storm or even just give yourself a minor injury while scraping ice or shoveling snow. A good first aid kit should include items like bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, sterile gauze, tweezers, and other items. If you have any time-sensitive medications that you need to take daily, you might also want to consider including them in a first aid kit. Check the kit periodically to make sure that nothing has expired.
You should also keep a flashlight in your car in case you’re stranded in the dark or when inclement weather makes it hard to see. Make sure that your flashlight has batteries. You may also want to include a backup hand-crank flashlight that’s operable without batteries.
5. Phone charger
Keeping your phone charged is important in an emergency in case you need to get in touch with emergency services, get a tow, or call friends or family for help. You should include a phone charger in your winter emergency kit. If possible, it’s a great idea to also include a fully charged phone battery pack so that you can continue to charge your phone if your car is turned off.
6. Hat and gloves
Stay prepared for chilly winter temperature with a spare pair of gloves and a warm hat. Even if it’s not that cold when you leave the house, temperatures could drop with the onset of a winter storm. Keeping warm, cozy winter gear in the car is an easy way to make sure that you’re more comfortable if you’re stuck in your car during winter weather.
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A warm blanket is also a must-have in your winter emergency kit. Some first aid kits come with emergency blankets designed to retain heat and help you stay warm. But even an old quilt or blanket is a good backup.
8. Ice scraper
Ice scrapers, which typically also include a brush attachment to brush off snow, help clear ice and snow from your car without damaging it. Whether you just bought a new car or are moving to a place with lots of snow, you’ll quickly find that an ice scraper is an essential element of your winter car kit arsenal.
If you’re stuck somewhere unexpected during a winter storm, there’s a chance that you might find yourself snowed in. If this is the case, a shovel will come in handy to help you dig out your car and get back on the road when it’s safe to drive. Look for a compact, collapsible shovel that you can easily fit in your trunk.
Slick conditions can make it hard to gain traction on roads. A bag of sand is another great addition to your winter emergency kit since it can help you get unstuck. Just sprinkle the sand along the surface to give your tires grip and traction on the road.
11. Jumper cables
One of the only things worse than being stranded with your vehicle during a winter storm is being stranded and having your car die on you. Keeping a spare pair of jumper cables in your car can make it easier to get a jump from another driver.
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