With the many hazards of winter driving, it’s essential to put together an emergency kit for your car to assist you in a variety of risky situations.
While emergency winter kits are commercially sold, they often lack vital items and/or contain products of inferior quality. The safest way to ensure that your kit is full of high-quality emergency supplies is to build it yourself.
Here are ten items that are recommended to get you started:
1. Jumper Cables
Car batteries that are low on juice die more quickly in the cold. If your battery dies (or if you pass by another driver with a dead battery), jumper cables can give you a boost so you can drive over to a dealership or auto supply store for a new battery. Brush up on how to jump a car via online tutorials.
2. Snow Shovel
If your car gets stuck in deep snow, you may need to shovel some of it out of the way so your tires can move freely. Never spin your wheels; this only makes your car sink deeper. Removing the snow is a better solution.
3. Sand, Salt or Kitty Litter
After removing the built-up snow, you’ll need to sprinkle your gritty substance of choice in front of the tires to regain traction. This often is the key to climbing out of the spot you got stuck in.
4. Tow Rope
If you’re really stuck and nothing else works, you may need a friend with a truck to come tow you out. Tow rope comes in handy for those unexpected instances.
5. Ice Scraper
This handy tool lives in most cars during the winter months. Use it to remove ice from windows, mirrors and lights so you can drive with increased visibility.
6. Road Flares
If you get stuck off the beaten path, sending up a flare can help people spot your location. Flares come in handy when you’ve called for help and rescuers can’t find you or if you have no other way of signaling for help but to send up a flare.
If you’re stuck for a long period of time, a blanket can help maintain your body temperature. Pack a large, thick blanket that you can bundle up in.
8. Food and Water
Similarly, if you’re stuck for a while, you’ll need sustenance until help arrives. Pack a few sealed bottles of water and protein-rich non-perishable food, like granola bars.
If you get stuck at night, a flashlight can be your best friend. Use it to find help or to simply provide light while you wait. Remember to pack extra batteries.
10. Cell Phone Charger
Most people always have a cell phone on their person, but that phone is only as good as its battery life. Pack a car charger so you can juice it back up if needed.