Unpredictable winter weather can seriously impact your travel plans and daily commute, and the best way to stay safe is to be prepared. Below is a helpful safety reminder as well as a compiled list of winter emergency kit items to keep in your car. For a comprehensive year-round vehicle roadside kit, watch our Emergency Roadside Kit video.
- Clear ALL snow & ice off your vehicle It is important to clear the snow and ice off your vehicle’s windows, roof, hood, and trunk before driving. Snow and ice on the roof of your vehicle can fly off while traveling, creating a very dangerous situation for other motorists. Additionally, ice & snow may also slide forward off your vehicle’s roof onto your windshield while decelerating, obstructing your view, and potentially causing an accident.
Create Your Own Winter Vehicle Emergency Kit
- Snow brush & ice scraper An essential tool for clearing off snow and ice from your vehicle.
- First aid kit This is crucial in the event someone is injured, allowing you to assist until help arrives.
- Emergency roadside flares or reflective safety markers In addition to using your four-way flashers, utilizing flares and safety markers will help you stay clearly visible in the event of an emergency. It will also help signal other motorists that you may be in distress and need assistance – getting you help faster.
- Sand, rock salt, or cat litter In the event your vehicle gets stuck, spread the sand, salt, or cat litter around your tires to help regain traction.
- Flashlight and batteries Winter brings shorter days and more evening commutes. Keeping a flashlight handy will help you stay visible in the event of an emergency.
- Cell phone charger Your cell phone will be needed in an emergency, don’t let a low or dead battery prevent you from calling for help.
- Jumper cables Cold weather can reduce the life of your vehicle’s battery. Keep jumper cables on hand in the event your car battery dies.
- Small shovel This will be handy for moving snow away from your vehicle.
- Gloves, hats, & blankets Prepare yourself for the worst. If you must leave your vehicle in an emergency, or if you are waiting in a cold car for help to arrive, stay warm by bundling up with blankets, a hat, and gloves.
- Food/snacks Roadside assistance might take longer to arrive during a severe storm. Keep water and a supply of snacks in your vehicle to help you stay hydrated and to maintain body heat. Snacks can especially be handy if you have children with you, as it may help keep them calm while you wait for help to arrive.
For more safety reminders on winter driving, check out this great article by the National Safety Council.