Winter is coming. As much as you try to avoid thinking about it, it is coming.
Cold. Snow. Ice. Car Accidents. Getting Stuck. Sliding off the Road.
All those things that winter brings.
They are coming
Driving in winter is a fact of life. The world doesn’t stop no matter how bad the weather is, you still have to get to work, the grocery store, cleaners, day care and so on. Driving on snow covered or icy roads is dangerous. Sliding into a ditch, hitting other cars, or just getting stuck is a common occurrence. Many times it is not that serious, especially if it happens in a populated area. You just take out your phone and call road service. However, sometimes the situation can be quite serious, especially if it happens in a deserted area with no people or cell service. If you get stuck in the middle of nowhere in winter, it can be a life threatening situation. A little preparation now can save your life if this situation ever happens to you.
So what items should you carry in your car, just in case? I split the items I carry into two categories:
- Items to help you get back on the road
- Items to keep you alive till help comes
If you are actively trying to get your car moving again, you will need:
- Jumper cables, basic tools and a tow rope (winter car emergency kit)
- Folding Shovel – regular or snow shovel
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries – I usually have more than one and 3 times the batteries needed
- Bag Cat Litter or Sand – a 20 pound bag to put under the wheels for traction if you are stuck
Basic Auto Tools and Jumper Cables KitCar Tow Rope – Heavy Duty Steel Wire11-Inch Auto Snow Shovel with Telescoping HandleAuto Flashlight with Magnatized BaseEmergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10)Olive Drab Warm Winter Blanket, 62
For some great advice on how to get yourself unstuck from deep snow, check out this video:
To keep yourself safe and warm on the inside of the car and to stay alive till help arrives, you will need a few items:
1. Emergency Candles and a lighter or matches – I pack two for the front seat and two for the back seat. They provide light and heat in the small area of a car.
5 Pack 45 Degree Angle Jet Flame Butane Torch Lighter Refillable Windproof100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle, Clear Mist – Set of 6 Survival Candles
2. Protein Bars and a Metal Cup with Handle – It is important to keep up your strength in an emergency situation, so protein bars are a compact and good source. You will need a metal cup to scoop up snow in and hold it over your emergency candles to melt, so you can have water to drink. Never eat snow for water, it will lower your body temperature.
Pure High Protein Bar, Variety PackGSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Cup/Pot
3. Knife and Emergency Whistle– A knife can come in handy for many things, it is always good to have one. A major reason I carry one is for protection against predators, both animal and human. I usually have a large one and a couple small ones. Another thing I carry for protection is an emergency whistle.
Schrade Survival Knife with Fixed Steel Blade and Black Kraton Handle and SheathPocket Survival Knife. with Serrated Edge and Seat Belt CutterFox Sonik Blast with Lanyard – Multi Color, Orange/black
4. Toilet Paper – Trust me, you will want to have this, especially if you get stuck for a long period of time. You can also use it for tissue, or quick clean ups. These are the very least of what you should carry with you, in your car, in the winter.
There are a few more things that I carry in my car, just for precaution should certain situations arise.
Warm Clothing – If Someone Decides to Go for Help – You will need extra warm clothing like wool socks, gloves and hat, as well as a small bag or back pack with a compass, real paper map. protein bars, a metal cup and a means to start a fire.
Personal Medications – If You or a Family Member Needs Medication Regularly – Keep a few doses (if not freeze sensitive) in your car in case you get stuck or a long period of time. This includes heart attack prevention medication and epi pens for severe allergic reactions.
Other Supplies – If You Do Not Carry a Basic Emergency Kit in your Car Already – If you don’t, you will also need: Flares, emergency triangles, siphon hose, first aid kit and a piece of red fabric to tie to your car antenna to let people know you need help.
20 Minute Heavy Duty FlaresD.O.T. Approved TrianglesSiphon with 6′ Tubing76 Pc. Excursion Road Kit
There’s An App For That!
There is a free, downloadable app called Winter Survival Kit that will store important phone numbers you need in an emergency, and also insurance policy numbers for roadside assistance. If your phone still works where you get stranded this app will help you find your current location, and even call 911, if you need to. It even has a gas calculator that will give you an approximate estimate of how long you can run your car engine with the gas you have in your tank. You can also receive period warnings to turn off your engine and check to make sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
You can download the Winter Survival Kit App for Android here and for iPhone here.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tabor-roeder/8337175111/sizes/z/
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