Emergency supplies to keep in your car for winter driving

Winter Driving

Driving in the winter requires more caution than any other time of the year. With an increased likelihood of bad weather, it’s simply more hazardous to venture out. So, it’s always a good idea to prepare for any potentially dangerous situation you may encounter. While there are some things that you should always keep with you in the car, such as jumper cables, flares, and a flashlight, there are others that are really only necessary in winter weather conditions. Take a look below at the essential supplies you should have in your vehicle before hitting the roads this winter.

Snow brush. This one is obvious. Two of the major keys to being safe on the roads are to be able to see where you’re going, and to not have objects falling off your car as you go. A snow brush helps you knock off that excess ice and snow, clearing your car of any on-board hazards.

Hat. You lose quite a bit of body heat from your head, so keeping a hat in your car is a good idea. Don’t opt for a baseball cap; choose a thick and warm cap that’s long enough to cover your ears.

Blanket. When it comes to staying warm, it is always a good idea to have layers. Wrapping yourself in a wool blanket is a great way to stay warm while you wait for help. If you often carry passengers, consider packing multiple blankets so that everyone can be comfortable.

Sand or kitty litter. If you happen to get stuck in a ditch, you will be thankful to have this on hand. Sand or cat litter can help absorb some of the wetness that may be causing your wheel to spin in place, and can provide enough friction for you to get out of other sticky situations.

Shovel. Still stuck in that ditch? Or is your car just snowed in? Whatever the case may be, a shovel may be your most useful tool. Keep it in your trunk from November through March in order to always have a way out.

Spare clothes. If you have to step outside of your vehicle during a storm, chances are that you’ll get wet and cold. The best way to get your temperature back to normal quickly is to change into dry clothes once you’re finished putting that spare tire on or jumping your battery. Having some in the car will save you from being uncomfortable, and can actually keep you healthy in the case of a more severe scenario.

Nourishment. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a healthy snack on hand. Whether you’re  merely waiting for roadside assistance for a few hours, or in a more serious situation, having protein bars or other non-perishable meal replacements on hand can give you the energy you need to tough it out while you wait for help to arrive. Pack bottles of water with you as well — eating snow for hydration is potentially dangerous, as it can contribute to hypothermia.

How to Make a Winter Survival Kit [Ready Wisconsin]

Emergency Car Kit [Farmer’s Almanac]