With icy roads, rapidly falling snow and frigid temperatures, driving during the winter months can often be treacherous. Every winter driver should prepare for the worst by keeping supplies in their vehicles to use in case of emergency. Here is a list of items every driver should have in a winter driving emergency kit:
An ice scraper/snow brush
When you stop at the store to pick up a few things you may be greeted with an unwelcome surprise on your windshield. Keeping a scraper and brush in your car will help reduce accidents due to visibility.
A cell phone
Don’t forget your cell phone when you leave the house. When you drive in winter weather there is always a chance you will have an accident or become stranded somewhere. Your phone book or contact list should contain the numbers for the local police station, a towing company, your car dealership, and friends and family who are near the area in which you will be traveling. It’s also a good idea to program “in case of emergency” numbers. Choose three or so contacts from your contact list that you would like to be notified in the event of an emergency. In your contact list, type “ICE” before their names so emergency personnel know who to contact in case you are in an accident that leaves you incapacitated. Sometimes a call to the service department of your car dealership can help you figure out what is wrong with your car so you can fix it and be on your way.
It’s also a good idea to keep an extra phone charger in the car. If you have to get out and walk, you can keep it in your pocket to recharge your phone. And, if you stay with the car, you will still be able to charge your phone if the car battery dies.
Cat litter, flattened cardboard boxes and a shovel
If your car gets stuck in ice or snow, putting a piece of cardboard sprinkled with cat litter may help give you enough traction to get out of the rut. The shovel is necessary for helping you dig your tires out.
Blanket and Candle
The blanket and candle will help keep you warm because if you get in an accident you may not be able to keep your car running for warmth. Also, if your cell phone stops the light will increase your chances of being found by passing travelers. A flashlight and extra batteries will let you signal to let people know where you are. Another good item to have is a book of matches or a lighter so you can build a fire for warmth if you are stranded overnight.
Detailed map of the area where you will be traveling
Keeping maps in your car is always a good idea. Sometimes a GPS can have glitches or cease working completely. Technology is not always reliable. If you have a map to look at you can figure out where the closest town may be.
A stocked first aid kit
Keep a travel-sized first aid kit in your glove compartment. It can be very helpful if you get a few scrapes or cuts. Make sure your first aid kit is always stocked with bandages, antiseptic creams and rinses, as well as aspirin and any medication you may need for existing conditions. If you are diabetic, keep extra syringes and insulin in your kit as well.
Water and food
Always keep a few bottles of water in your car as well as non-perishable food items such as crackers, trail mix, raisins and protein bars in case you are stranded anywhere for an extended period of time.
Other items that come in handy:
Gloves, scarves, hats, jackets and a change of clothes. Keep these extra items in your car winter driving emergency kit so you can always have something clean and dry to wear.
Jumper cables. Keep jumper cables in your car at all times to help restart a failed engine.
A portable radio. This will allow you to hear weather and traffic conditions should your car become inoperable.
Remember to stock your car with these items before you think you may need them. The key to surviving winter driving is being prepared well in advance.