Whether you are traveling 20 miles, 200 miles or only 2 miles, winter preparedness for travel is essential. To stay safe in severe weather, keep a winter car kit in your vehicle at all times. When packing the kit, be certain to include items that could help you survive if stuck on the roadside during a winter storm.
For the car. Any vehicle on the road during winter weather needs to have an ice scraper and a snow brush. Make sure your ice scraper is sturdy and will not break if you have to chip thicker ice. A shovel with a collapsible handle is an essential tool to have in your winter kit, as well. It can be used to dig out your vehicle when stuck in the snow. Include jumper cables, a towrope, flares and a reflective roadside warning triangle. A tire sealant is helpful for flat tires.
Traction help. When the roads are icy, getting enough traction to get out of a parking spot or ditch can be difficult. A winter car kit should contain a bag of clay kitty litter and/or a few carpet remnants. Kitty litter sprinkled on an icy patch can help the tires get enough traction so you can get moving again. Carpet remnants or even your car mats can help with traction as well.
For the driver. Drivers and passengers will need to stay warm if stranded during a winter storm. Keep a winter car kit packed with a blanket, gloves/mittens, hat, thermal socks, an extra pair of boots and hand warmers. Include bottled water plus snacks such as high-energy granola bars, beef jerky and chocolate.
Other essentials. Every winter car kit should include a flashlight with extra working batteries, a battery-powered emergency radio, paper road maps, a compass and a roll of paper towels. A metal can and candle with waterproof matches can provide a bit of warmth for hands and can melt snow if needed. Pack a small basic toolbox and include screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, duct tape and electrical tape.
First aid kit. Every car should always have a basic first aid kit year-round. Visit Ready.gov for first aid kit basics.
Car emergency phone. Survival-Supply.com recommends keeping an old/used cell phone and a car adapter in your vehicle at all times. As long as you have a signal, you can use it to call 911 without incurring any charges. The phone does not have to have service to call 911. According to Survival-Supply.com, “You don’t need to recharge it or keep it charged. Just plug the phone into your car’s cigarette lighter, turn it on, dial 911, and it will work.”
All-in-one winter car kits can be purchased online and from various retail stores.