Essential winter additions to your car survival kit

Having a well-stocked emergency kit in your car can be a lifesaver in the event of an unexpected breakdown or other emergency. The consequences of such an event are difficult particularly during the winter months. Hence the need to have your car survival kit well prepared.

Here are five essential items to include in your car emergency kit for winter weather.

1. Warm clothing and blankets

In the event that you become stranded in your car during a winter storm, having warm clothing and blankets can mean the difference between being comfortable and being at risk of hypothermia. Pack a hat, gloves, a warm coat, and a blanket or two in your emergency kit.

Obviously, you can run your engine and keep the car heated this way, but that is only possible if:

  • you can stay inside the vehicle,
  • the engine did not break during the emergency (which might be the case if you hit a tree),
  • you still have fuel available.

A gallon of fuel should be enough to keep an engine running for two to six hours.

2. Flashlight and extra batteries

A flashlight can be invaluable for illuminating your way if you need to leave your car in the dark. Pack a high-quality flashlight and a set of extra batteries in your emergency kit to ensure that you have a reliable source of light.

The best possible type of lamp to keep for emergencies is a headlamp. The reason is simple: you can use it and have two free hands to conduct any type of task.

Some users prefer to use rechargeable flashlights, which are recharged using a cigarette lighter plug charger.

In winter, if your car breaks down somewhere, you might have to wait for assistance for much longer. Photo by alexkich, via Depositphotos.

3. First aid kit

Accidents can happen at any time, and a first aid kit can be a crucial resource for treating minor injuries. Make sure your kit includes bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, and other basic first aid supplies.

You should not keep perishable items in your first aid kit. This includes any type of drug that will be affected by the frost. In general, if you need any drugs, they should be kept in your every-day carry survival kit.

4. Jumper cables

Low temperatures significantly decrease the capacity of car batteries. This includes not only lead-acid batteries used for starter motors in internal combustion engines, but also lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. So if you leave the dome light in your car for the night, you might not be able to start your car in the winter.

If your car battery dies in the cold, jumper cables can be a quick and easy way to get it started again. Make sure you have a set of heavy-duty jumper cables in your emergency kit, along with a set of instructions for how to use them.

In Poland we quite often see much less cars on the streets on the day of the first significant frost. This is the time when most of the batteries die, or rather the time when the users learn the batteries should be replaced. 😉

5. Emergency food and water

If you become stranded in your car for an extended period of time, having access to food and water can be crucial. Pack non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items such as energy bars, nuts, and dried fruit in your emergency kit, along with a few bottles of water.

Note that the water should be kept in containers that will not be damaged by the frost. In other case you risk having your trunk or interior dampened with water.

Other things to consider

In addition to these five essential items, there are a few other things you may want to consider adding to your car emergency kit for winter weather:

  • A shovel: If you get stuck in the snow, a shovel can be a lifesaver for digging yourself out.
  • An ice scraper: An ice scraper can be invaluable for removing ice and snow from your car’s windows and mirrors.
  • A bag of sand or kitty litter: If you get stuck in the snow, spreading sand or kitty litter under your tires can provide extra traction and help you get moving again.
  • A reflective triangle or road flares: If your car breaks down on the side of the road, a reflective triangle or road flares can help other drivers see you and avoid hitting your car.

By including these essential items in your car emergency kit, you can be prepared for winter weather and any other unexpected emergencies that may arise on the road. Remember to regularly check and restock your emergency kit to ensure that it’s always ready when you need it.

Artur Kwiatkowski

MSc in engineering, BSc in management. Self-taught in many fields, but master of none. Interested in healthy living and travel. And preparedness, of course!

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