Top 3 Types of Things to Keep in Your Car This Winter
While any breakdown can be frustrating, those that occur during winter storms have the potential to be deadly. Whether you typically don’t have to leave town during the winter months or you frequently drive long distances, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most important items you should keep in your car’s winter emergency pack.
Snow and Ice Gear
There may be times when your vehicle is still mainly functional yet the snow and ice around your car won’t allow you to move. This is when it pays to have a well-stocked winter emergency pack that includes:
- Broom or brush for snow removal
- Cat litter or road salt
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Snow shovel
- Tow rope
In the event that you’re unable to dig your vehicle out of the snow or regain traction on the road, it’s a good idea to keep some kind of a flag or fluorescent piece of cloth in your car that you can attached to your rolled up window. This is a universal sign for a stranded vehicle.
Unless you’re stranded in an area where you can clearly see an open business that you can take shelter in, it’s better to shelter in your vehicle where you can at least stave off some of the cold. The most important items you’ll need for survival include:
- Bottled water, preferably stored in the passenger compartment to keep it from freezing
- Candles and matches
- Flashlight and batteries
- Necessary medications
- Non-perishable food, like energy bars and dried fruit
- Phone charger
- Weather radio
In addition, it’s a good idea to keep snow boots, mittens, scarves and hats in your emergency kit. These items will come in handy whether you’re sheltering in place or trying to walk to the gas station you can see nearby.
If you’re like many people, you’re more okay with the idea of getting stuck in your vehicle overnight than you are with the proposition of having nothing to do to fill all those hours. Since playing games on your phone or listening to the radio may not be options, consider adding the following to your winter emergency pack:
- Playing cards
- Puzzle books
While nothing will be able to fully distract you from your predicament, finding another activity for your mind to focus on can help you keep up your spirits and worry less.
The single best thing you can do is call 9-1-1 the moment you realize you won’t be able to get back on the road again on your own. If your phone has GPS, they may be able to trace you, but do your best to explain your location to them. Having a general idea of where you are is better than only being able to name an entire highway.
Experts typically recommend that you only leave on the heater just long enough to take the chill out of the passenger compartment and then turn off the car to conserve fuel. Also, be sure to periodically check your exhaust pipe to ensure it isn’t clogged with snow or debris. A little warmth isn’t worth carbon monoxide poisoning.