I have been reading story after story about winter car emergency situations across the country. People stranded in their cars for hours. It made me look at my car more closely. What I realized? I was not fully prepared with a winter car emergency kit. So, I headed to my closet and the store to get ready before I took another car ride, how ever brisk. With temperatures living below zero and snow falling in buckets from the sky, even a short jaunt in the car can prove treacherous. Our Chicago City officials are actually encouraging drivers to stay off the roads mostly because if there is an accident, or if your car fails, you are even more at risk for an exposure tragedy while waiting for help than anything else. But for many people staying home isn’t an option. Schools may be closed but work still continues. If you are someone who has to drive anywhere at all it is important to stock your winter car emergency kit to keep you safe.
You probably already know about basic maintenance items like oil, fix a flat, windshield wiper fluid, and a gasoline siphon. Those are all very important quick fix car items. However, if you have no idea how to repair your car, or if you get in an accident, you may have to wait for hours along the side of the road for a rescue. Here is a list of 15 winter car emergency kit must haves that will help keep you and your family safer this season.
15 Winter Car Emergency Kit Must Haves 1 of 16
Quick Fix Car Repair Tools 2 of 16
Every car needs an emergency tool kit, no matter what season it is. You need road flares, duck tape, jumper cables, a screwdriver, a mini-wrench set, work gloves, zip ties, and even some extra fuses. Some companies sell ready made kits to get you started. If you add nothing else to your car this season, make sure you have simple quick fix car repair tools.
First Aid Kit 3 of 16
Another ready-made kit that every well-stocked car should have is a first aid kit. You can easily make one of your own, just make sure it has band-aids, pain reliever, instant ice packs, a tweezer, and some medical tape. I am also a big fan of ace bandages, antibiotic ointment, and gauze. Go with your gut. You know how to take car of your family.
Flashlight 4 of 16
Something that should be a no-brainer but can also be easily forgotten is a flashlight. You can always use one of these. But don't forget the batteries.
Glow Sticks 5 of 16
I found this idea online, and I think it is awesome. The dark makes everything so much more scary. When stranded in your car, it's important to conserve your car battery. You have your flashlight, but that too has a shelf life. Glow sticks are a quick and easy way to add a little illumination to your space. I found a whole assortment at the dollar store.
Safety Vest 6 of 16
You have your flashlight and your glow sticks to light up things inside the car, but if you have to step out of the car, it is just as important that you yourself are illuminated to keep you safe and visible to other divers. Adding a fluorescent safety vest to your emergency car kit will help you do just that. It is a small item with a big role to play.
Mobile Fuel Cell Power Pack 7 of 16
Of course, you want to have your car chargers for your phone. But just like I mentioned before, conserving your car battery is a real issue. Having an external battery charger is a big help. I carry mine with me all of the time. However this holiday, my niece gave me something even better to add to my emergency supplies. This doomsday device is good for only one use, but it lasts for a full month providing charges to phones, wifis, computers and more. This is one present that I hope I never need to open but am sure glad that I have on hand if I do.
Warm Blanket 8 of 16
When you think of winter, it is easy to think of a big warm blanket. Truth be told, you don't necessarily need an emergency for a blanket to be useful. I keep mine in a vacuum sealed space bag so it won't get soiled or take up too much space.
Reflective Emergency Blanket 9 of 16
A warm blanket, even in a vacuum bag, takes up square footage. If you don't have any to spare, you can always add a reflective emergency blanket to your glove compartment or even your back of seat pocket. It is that compact, but when necessary it unfolds into a cover that is as protective as it is reflective. Hey, what's good for a marathon runner is good for you and your family don't you agree?
Hand Warmers 10 of 16
You would be amazed at how often you will find reasons to break out these bad boys. They are soooo toasty and convenient. They say hand warmers on the package, but I have stuck them in my boots and under my shirt. I have even sat on them. In this weather, a car can become a mini freezer very fast. These warmers can make a serious difference while you are waiting for a rescue.
Paper Towel Roll 11 of 16
Paper towels may seem inconsequential, but they can do a lot. Sure they can clean up messes, but they also can be used as added insulation if things get really desperate. The roll itself can be used as a pillow too.
Water 12 of 16
Protein 13 of 16
Going On The Go 14 of 16
Isn't it inevitable as soon as you get away from home your kids have to go to the bathroom? Well when you are stranded, that becomes a serious problem, especially in the cold. The boys can grab a bottle, but it's not so easy for the girls. Years ago when my daughter and I were stuck in a serious traffic jam on the freeway, I learned the value of carrying gallon size Ziploc bags. My poor baby couldn't wait any longer, and there wasn't an exit in sight so a gallon size Ziploc bag gave her the relief that she so desperately needed. Don't turn your nose up. When you gotta go, you gotta have someplace to go into. Pair that with flushable wipes and you will be golden.
Kitty Litter 15 of 16
This provides ballast in your trunk to help keep your car weighted to the slick ground. It also mixes with the snow to form clay and provide more traction if you get stuck. Be aware that litter doesn't melt snow like ice. They are not the same thing. Litter is a band-aid for a snowy set of wheel cuffs. Salt is more of a time release solution for your home drive and walk.
Small Shovel 16 of 16
I actually went so far as to swap out my small emergency shovel for a full sized shovel this week. I wasn't even going very far, but I still found reasons to use it 4 times, for myself and for others. I dug into a parking space and later dug out. On the way home, I helped dig two others out of binds on yet to be plowed side streets. Snow requires tools.
What’s in you winter car emergency kit? Let’s keep each other safer this season.
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