Winter Ready Car Kit

Winter driving is important during the holiday season. We want to visit family and friends, and often that involves driving long hours in adverse conditions, sometimes late into the night.

Creating a safety kit in the back of your car is a good idea in case you encounter an accident, and a well-assembled kit doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to assemble to save your life.

The Basic Premise

A car kit for winter driving needs to be portable and compact, since it must be carried around in your car, and it must be able to keep you safe in a more extreme way than a home kit would.

If your power goes out in the winter, your home is still insulated against the cold. In a car, you have more dangerous obstacles to face, and your kit needs to include supplies to keep you warm and safe.

Make sure your winter driving kit is equipped to keep you alive in case of emergencies!

Here are some tips you should take to prepare yourself for a winter emergency:

  • The basic advice for all winter emergency preparedness is prevention. See that your car is regularly serviced and any mechanical issues are dealt with quickly. You’ll regret not getting that tune-up if your car breaks down on a cold night.
  • Consider a AAA subscription for quick emergency services, and always keep your gas tank above a quarter tank. This is especially important in rural areas where gas stations are further apart.
  • If you break down, keep yourself insulated from the cold as much as possible. Open and close doors as little as possible to retain heat. Don’t go outside except when absolutely necessary, because walking in a winter storm is an easy way to get lost.
  • Tell someone where you are. Call friends, family, and emergency services to make a rescue possible if needed.
  • Use a reflector or florescent flag to make yourself visible to passers by. Keep your dome light on if you’re expecting rescue services to be looking for you.
  • Don’t overexert yourself trying to get un-stuck. Stay hydrated and don’t risk an injury by straining your body too far. The only thing worse than a broken down car on a cold night is if you add an injury to the mix.
  • If you start to sweat, be aware that the moisture can freeze and make you at risk for hypothermia.
  • Keep your car’s exhaust pipe free from snow so that you don’t suffocate in carbon monoxide gas.

Winter Driving Kit Essentials

After those dire warnings, what should you actually pack inside your emergency kit? Start with the list below!

  • A shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Vehicle oil and anti-freeze
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • A functional spare tire. Check your tire yearly to make sure the air pressure is good, and replace any spares older than five years old.
  • A supply of any medication you need
  • Windshield scraper and small broom to keep your glass clear
  • Water and snacks that can handle freezing and thawing repeatedly
  • A warm blanket
  • Reflective tape or signaling window cling
  • Matches
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