Roadside emergencies are no fun. Roadside emergencies in the dead of winter are downright miserable and, in some cases, can be dangerous. When icy and snowy conditions start to affect the roads, its best to keep a winter survival kit in your car.
In this post, we are going to talk about the most important things to keep in your winter car survival kit.
When you are stuck out in the winter cold, keeping warm is of paramount importance. In some instances, you may be able to keep your car running and simply use the heater. This comes with its own concerns, too. Do you have enough gas to do so and get to a gas station to refuel after your emergency? Also, if you are in packed snow, the act of running the engine could cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the car, which can be deadly.
Instead, keep a good size candle, a lighter, and a metal can (such as a used paint can). Just put the candle in the can and light it. You would be surprised how much heat this can generate when you need it most.
Something as small as an LED flashlight (and fresh batteries) can be a huge help in an emergency situation. Because winter is noted for, among other things, its lack of sunlight, odds are you could have an emergency in the dark. A small flashlight is perfect for use when changing a flat tire or checking under the hood. If you need to take/make notes about your situation, the flashlight helps you see those notes. You can even use it to help signal for help if the opportunity presents itself.
Cell Phone Charger
What's worse than having a roadside emergency? How about having a roadside emergency with phone that has a low or dead battery? Anymore, the key to getting help in a winter roadside emergency or any roadside, or any emergency for that matter, is the ability to call for help, be it 911, a wrecker, your insurance company, and the like. With a charged cell phone, your odds of escaping your emergency quickly and with minimal damage are greatly increased.
Paper and Pen/Pencil
If you get into an accident, you'll need to take down information from the other driver(s) with regards to insurance details. Also, if you are calling your insurance company for roadside assistance, they may give you numbers to take down, such as a claim number or the name/number of the towing company that will be servicing you.
A simple notepad is plenty for your paper needs. While the ink in pens is often easier to read on the paper, especially in low-light situations, ink can freeze when its really cold and make it difficult to write. While a pencil won't freeze, it might not write dark enough to be read in low light. So, it's best to keep both in your kit.
An Air Compressor
To be honest, this is an item you should probably keep in your trunk all year round. In winter, though, it's particularly useful. Imagine you have a blowout while driving. Fortunately, you have a spare. You put on the spare only to discover that it is flat or almost flat. Just imagine how frustrating that would be. Keeping an air compressor in your vehicle helps to ensure proper tire pressure at all times and reduce the chances of having a tire-related emergency.
Basic Tool Kit
If you keep a full tool box in your vehicle, that is great. You, however, would be in the minority here. For most drivers, a small bag with a few screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, pliers, and duct tape can be a real life saver in situations where minor problems can be tightened up or patched up enough to get you to a shop that can perform a necessary repair.
In winter vehicle emergencies, ice and snow can make traction a significant obstacle. By keeping a bag of cat litter in your vehicle, you give your tires a fighting chance in slippery conditions. If you drive a 4WD vehicle, make sure you keep enough cat litter for all four tires.
Like an air compressor, it's good to keep jumper cables in your vehicle all year long. In winter, though, it's especially important. Cold weather can wreak havoc on your battery, much more so than warmer summer weather. If your battery has gotten weaker over time, all it takes is one good cold snap to expose just how bad your battery's condition can be. Having jumper cables and some help from another person can be just what you need to get to the shop and purchase a new battery.
A Small Shovel
In many winter emergency situations, removing compacted snow from around your vehicle is all you really need to do to get back on the road. Trying to dig it out with your hands is a miserable (and potentially dangerous) ordeal. Many military surplus stores care small and/or fold-able shovels that fit neatly in your trunk. A shovel, paired with some cat litter, can make quick work out of what could otherwise be a very frustrating situation.
First Aid Kit
In emergency situations, there is always risk for injury. Having a basic first aid kit can help address minor injuries until professional help arrives. Further, if you or your family take specific medication, it is not a bad idea to keep some of that in there, too. It can sometimes be hours until help arrives, and having basic medical supplies on hand can go a long way towards keeping a bad situation from turning into a desperate situation.
Hat and Gloves
In winter, it is likely that you are already traveling with a hat and gloves, but that isn't always the case. As mentioned at the top of this article, being able to keep warm is critical in winter weather emergencies. Keeping a spare hat and gloves in your winter weather emergency kit is a very simple and effective way to stay warm until help arrives.
Have we mentioned that staying warm is key? Good. For that reason, keeping a blanket in your vehicle can be crucial in the thick of winter. A good option would be an old quilt that you have lying around. They tend to be thin and dense, so they take up less room in your vehicle, but can still provide adequate warmth.
In winter, snow removal crews are out there doing their best to keep surfaces free from snow and ice, so you can travel safely. Still, Old Man Winter is a fickle character. For that reason, it's always best to keep a winter car survival kit in your vehicle to help ensure a certain level of preparedness for winter roadside emergencies.
Finally, if you are looking for commercial snow removal services, we'd sure appreciate it if you would give E.P.M. LawnScape and Supply an opportunity. Simply contact us online or call us at (517) 990-0110 today!