What to Keep in Your Car this Winter

You probably have your own little checklist that you go through each time you get in your car. License, keys… but what about in the winter time? When cold weather brings frost, ice, and snow, it's smart to keep a few other items in your car to be prepared just in case you get stranded or an emergency situation arises. This means carrying a few extra items but it's always better to have more than what you need rather than need more than what you have when you're traveling through rough winter weather.

An emergency kit will help you handle most common situations that pop up during winter trips. Bad things happen, and being prepared for them is the best way to get back on the road quickly. Roadside emergency kits carry the necessary items to help you get back on the road quickly. You can either but a pre-assembled kit, or assemble your own.

10 Things to Keep in Your Car This Winter

1. Clothing, Blankets, and Accessories to Keep Warm

If you get stuck or stranded, you need to stay warm. Always keep the following in your car this winter:

  • Blankets
  • Extra clothes for layering
  • Gloves and hand warmers
  • Rain or snow gear

Do everything you can to keep dry, and change into articles of your extra clothes if you get wet.

Even if you don’t run into any road trouble this winter, it could still be really nice to have some blankets in case you or one of your passengers is feeling a little chilly while you’re driving around.

2. Food and Water

Something else you may appreciate whether or not you need it! Keeping some food and water on-board can make events like getting stranded or waiting for a tow truck far more bearable and, depending on how you feel about passengers eating in your car, it could make their time on the road more bearable too.

3. An Empty Gas Can

Any time you’re driving a decent distance, it’s a good call to have an empty gas can on hand. That way, if you run out of gas, you can fill up at a nearby station and bring the can back to refuel your vehicle.

4. Cell Phone and Charger

It’s important to keep your phone charged in case you get stuck. It’s also smart to communicate your travel plans to others beforehand. All that said, there’s a lot of situations where having a phone charger in your car can come in handy–there’s a good chance your passengers might appreciate it too.

If you want to use your own phone charger or other electronics, use a power inverter. This will change your car’s cigarette lighters’ Direct Current (DC) into Alternating Current (AC), allowing you to power electronics exactly like you do with the outlets in your home.

5. Jumper Cables or a Battery Booster Pack to Keep You on The Road

Winter is rough on batteries. That’s because winter slows everything down, including the chemical reactions that occur inside of your car’s battery. A dead battery is always a risk in cold weather, but having a pair of jumper cables handy ensures you can get back on the road quickly.

If you’re traveling long distance or don’t want to have to rely on another car to jump your battery, consider investing in a jump starter or battery booster pack. These lithium-ion jump packs can recharge your car’s battery without having to rely on another car, just make sure that your jump pack is charged before you hit the road.

6. Be Ready to Give First Aid

No matter what season it is, you should always keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. We sell a variety of pre-assembled first aid kits, but you can also assemble your own. Start with a variety of bandages, a first aid guide, and potentially painkillers like ibuprofen or allergy medicine. Depending on medical history, there may be items that you should include in addition to what comes in a pre-packed first aid kit, like medications. If you already own a first aid kit, inspect to make sure that everything is still there. Replace the items that you’ve used or lost.

7. Ice Scraper, Snow Brush, or Shovel

You need to be able to remove ice and frost from your windshield in order to see clearly. An ice scraper or ice melting spray are the easiest methods of removing ice and snow from your windshield. Snow brushes are useful for removing snow fall from your vehicle’s body without damaging your paint. Otherwise, this snow could fall from your car while it’s moving which can be dangerous to you and other drivers.

8. Flashlights, Reflectors, and Flares Increase Visibility in Poor Conditions

Being stranded in the dark can be dangerous, and winter weather can cause darkness outside even in the day time. Keep a flashlight and some extra batteries in your vehicle to make sure you can see clearly.

Road flares alert other drivers to be cautious when approaching you and your vehicle when you’re on the side of the road.

9. Extra Washer Fluid

Really, you don’t want to run out of windshield washer fluid any time of year. That said, winter weather can frost up your windshield at any time, and it’ll be tough to get a clean view of the road ahead if you’re out of washer fluid.

If you live in a particularly cold climate, it’s worth seeing how low of temperatures your washer fluid is rated for: i.e. how cold it can get outside without your fluid freezing. All Season fluids can vary greatly, with some rated to 25 degrees and others as low as 0. There are also some fluids that are even better suited for winter weather with ratings as low as -20 degrees, or with the inclusion of de-icer for making quick work of any frost that winds up on your windshield.

10. Tire Chains and Ice Melt

There’s always a risk of your car getting stuck in the snow, your tires might not be able to get enough traction to keep driving. Keeping ice melt in your car ensures that you’ll be able to get out of slippery snow. Wrapping your tires in snow chains or snow socks can give your vehicle extra bite to keep traction and prevent the tires from getting stuck in the snow. Check your state laws about snow chains first though. Some states require drivers to keep chains in their cars, whereas other states outlaw chains all the time or at certain times of the year.

If your car does get stuck, having a towing chain could save you from needing to pay for a tow truck if you can get a friend or good samaritan to pull you out of the snow.

It’s also important to make sure your tires are in good condition. Be aware of your tread depth and keep a portable tire inflator on hand.

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