What are the best emergency supplies to keep in your car for the winter?
Untouched white snow, Christmas lights and beads of ice shining like diamonds make for a beautiful winter wonderland. While it looks idyllic, the slippery ice and wet snow often cause hazardous driving conditions. Even if you’re a cautious driver, it’s helpful to prepare for any scenario, from a flat tire to sliding off the road. Emergency preparedness is even more critical during the winter, with freezing temperatures that can become dangerous if you’re stranded for too long. To protect yourself during road trips or driving around town, keep these emergency supplies in your car for the winter.
Tips for driving in the winter
- Always make sure you share your travel plans with someone before leaving.
- Always ensure your tank is filled at least halfway to avoid a freezing gas line and keep you from running out of gas if stranded.
- If you’re stuck in the snow, use cat litter, sand or the car’s floor mats to create traction.
- Before driving, always clear all the snow from your windows and the top of your vehicle. Even if you can see, chunks of snow can fly off the car and endanger other vehicles.
- Do not use cruise control on wet, snowy or icy roads.
- Increase the following distance from the vehicle in front to allow for more stopping time.
- Always defrost windows thoroughly before driving. Also, do not pour boiling water on your windshield to speed up the process, as it could crack the windshield.
- Before leaving, check that your wiper blades are properly cleaning the windshield and aren’t icy.
- Extremely cold temperatures can lower the tire pressure, so do a quick tire check before leaving.
Best winter car emergency essentials
Don’t get caught in the winter without an ice scraper and snowbrush, even if the car is often in a garage. At 26 inches, it’s long enough to reach most areas of a windshield or the top of the car and still compact enough to store. The contoured grip is also comfortable on cold hands.
Keeping warm is the number one rule of getting stranded in the winter. Since it’s made of 80% wool, this emergency blanket is ultra-warm, durable and lightweight. Plus, it’s large enough to keep several people warm for hours, and the material is naturally fire-retardant.
Whatever the emergency is, this tool ensures no one gets stuck inside the car. One end of this two-in-one device is a hard tungsten metal double-head hammer to effortlessly break the car window. The other end features a sharp blade that quickly through a seat belt.
Find anything in the car or surroundings, thanks to this ultra-bright flashlight. Since it’s made from military-grade aluminum, this flashlight is virtually indestructible. It also comes with a set of two flashlights that are compact enough to fit in a pocket, glove box or bag.
A first aid kit is essential to keep in the car year-round for wounds, burns or any injury. This emergency car kit comes with 298 pieces, including bandages, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, ibuprofen, wound closures, a cold pack and more. Plus, it’s organized in a soft-sided, zippered carrying case.
Rain or shine, winter or summer, it’s essential to keep jumper cables in the car. However, cold temperatures wreak havoc on car batteries, and there may be an instance when the battery needs to be jump-started. These are also tangle-free, flexible and come in a carrying case.
Get 12 tools in one compact device that fits in a glove box, pocket or side door compartment. The multi-tool includes a plain-edge blade, scissors, small and medium flat-head screwdrivers, wire cutters and spring-loaded pliers. The butterfly opening is also ideal for effortless opening and quick accessibility.
Road flares are helpful for many emergencies, from flagging down help to notifying others of a vehicle on the side of the road. This six-pack of LED flares can be seen up to one mile away at night and radiate outward 360 degrees. Each flare also features nine flashing modes for various SOS emergency signals. They’re also waterproof, crushproof and magnetic.
With phones at the epicenter of the world, keeping a charged phone when traveling is essential for communicating in an emergency. It’s compatible with most iPhones, iPads and Airpods. Plus, two devices can charge simultaneously, thanks to the dual USB power output. Use in cars with a lighter adapter or USB port.
While this entrenching tool is 18.25 inches when fully open, it folds down to 10 inches and comes in a convenient carrying bag. The tempered steel shovel head is ideal for digging out a stuck car or clearing snow, and the sawtooth edge can cut small branches to build fires. Plus, the triangular handle fits comfortably in hands and makes digging effortless.
This pack of four wand lighters is ideal for a variety of situations. The long metal wand keeps fingers away from the flame, and the flexible wand fits in hard-to-reach places. Each lighter also features a child-resistant mechanism to keep it away from little hands and safe when it’s in storage.
Don’t be caught without fresh water while driving in the winter. To keep it from freezing in cold temperatures, store the water bottles in the main part of the car where the heater runs rather than in the trunk. You can also wrap it in a blanket or keep it in an insulated cooler.
All the flashlights and flares in the world are useless without charged batteries. This combo pack comes with 24 AA and 24 AAA batteries with a 10-year life in reclosable packaging. Just be sure to check all emergency supplies and keep the correct batteries stocked.
This 90-piece car emergency kit has got you covered. It comes with jumper cables, an air compressor, an LED headlamp, tow rope, tire repair kit, a window breaker and seatbelt cutter, a tire pressure gauge, multitool, electrical tape, bungee cords, cable ties and work gloves. What’s more, you also get first aid supplies with this roadside emergency kit.
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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