What to Keep in Your Car's Emergency Kit in Winter

Having your car break down a cold, winter day can be scary. But, a little preparation can make your life easier, especially during unpredictable wintry weather. That's why we suggest you keep a winter emergency kit in your car. Here are some suggestions for things to stock in your kit.

Why You Should Prepare During Winter

Winter means windy, wet, and icy weather in many parts of the U.S. So, that's a good reason to stock your vehicle with supplies you may need. Specifically, winter weather can mean you can run into unexpected challenges such as having your tires get stuck in snow. Also, getting help can be hard during a snow or ice storm, especially if it's frigid and dark outside.

Stock Items to Protect Yourself  

Safety comes first, so store items in your emergency kit that will protect you. What's most important is you stay warm and well until help arrives. So, keep a care package of items that will get you through a tough time. You can stash these in a separate waterproof bag in a place that's easy to access. At a minimum, keep these things on hand:

  • Water

  • Snacks that don't spoil easily such as energy bars

  • Cell phone and a battery pack, so you have enough charge to call for help

  • First aid kit with bandages, tape, antiseptic, and over-the-counter pain reliever

  • A warm change of clothes and a blanket

  • Waterproof boots with good treads, so you stay dry and don't slip on ice and snow

Also, you'll want things that will get you help faster. Along with your cell phone and charge, here are some more essential items:

  • A set of two to three reflective warning triangles. These will help drivers see you and your vehicle on the roadside.

  • A vest that reflects light. Drivers will be able to see you in the dark.

  • A headlamp with new batteries. A headlamp is easier to use and better than a flashlight.

Add Basic Repair Equipment to Your Kit

You don't have to be a car mechanic, but keep basic repair items on hand. Maybe you won't be able to fix your car, but someone may come to your rescue and help you.

One common reason teens need roadside help is tire failure, which can happen at any time. So, keep supplies to fix a flat, which include:

  • A jack to lift your car

  • Lug wrench

  • Inflated spare tire

Also, you should have supplies in case your tires get stuck in the snow. This is a common problem and it's frustrating. Don't spin your wheels and dig in deeper! Instead, keep supplies like a shovel, a rubber mat, sand, or even kitty litter to give your tires the traction you need. 

Your battery might be at greater risk of dying during the cold weather. Keep jumper cables in your car and learn the proper way to attach them to another car.

Become a Better Driver in Winter Weather

It may take some time to assemble a winter emergency kit. But the next year it will be easier to stow all the things you may need on your winter drives. Remember, you should also make sure your car is ready for the change to colder weather. That means having a mechanic inspect your vehicle for safety.

Your best defense against winter weather is being a better driver. Take an online defensive driving course and bring your driving skills to the next level.

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