Whether you’re planning a road trip in your own car or flying to a cold climate and renting a car this winter, you should assemble a winter emergency kit for your travels. In addition to the possibility of getting snowed in there is also a risk for getting stranded on the road.  Because we live in an area prone to snow and ice, my co-workers offer suggestions on what to keep in your trunk for your daily commute and road trips in the winter:

First Aid Kit/Flashlight/Flares – Include these items in your winter emergency kit, and keep them in your car through the rest of the seasons.

Blankets – You’ll want one if you get stranded in the cold somewhere due to an accident or a break down and your car loses power and can’t provide heat.

Boots, Gloves – These will be handy if you have to get out of the car for ANY reason, like walking to get help or if you drift off the road into a snow bank.

Snow Brush/Ice Scraper– Be prepared for whatever visible evidence of winter sticks to your car.

Shovel – Find one that is easy to store (with a short or retractable handle), you’ll find it useful if you get snowed in or plowed in anywhere.

Rock Salt/Sand/Kitty Litter – Put any of these items behind your tires to create traction to help you get out of slippery situations.

Jumper Cables – These are always a good idea, but are especially valuable in the winter when your battery may succumb to the freezing temperatures.

Portable Battery Charger – This is a step-up from just jumper cables; you can charge your battery without the help of another car.  Some models include an outlet so you can use it to charge your cell phone or other devices.  It’s worth the price because you can also use it to plug in small home appliances indoors if the power goes out.  

Windshield Wiper Fluid – Snow, ice and the dust from salt on the roads can constantly coat your windshield as you’re driving down the road.  Make sure that you have a full reservoir of fluid before you set out on your journey and bring a refill so you never have to worry about limited visibility on the road. 

Food and Drinks – Pack items like granola bars, cookies, or trail mix that won’t be affected by the extreme cold and will provide a fair amount of nourishment if you get stuck somewhere. Keep water in your car as well, it may freeze, but will melt eventually and will help you avoid dehydration.  

Did I forget anything?  Share your tips with us.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/genista/ / CC BY-SA 2.0


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  1. My car has rear-wheel drive. First, if you live in an area that receives alot of snow annually, do not purchase a rear-wheel drive car! If you must, or have made that mistake, here are some additional tips for making your car safe for the winter.

    Add extra weight to your car. The key to rear-wheel in the snow is keeping RPMs low and keeping weight in the back. I drive a car that is rear-wheel and my dad and I outfitted it with small moldings that would hold a cinderblock over each wheel well. It was easy to do using simple logic. Other things used to weigh it down are old microwaves, extra bags of sand/rock salt etc.

    Of course you want to remove these blocks or heavy items when not in danger of snow to keep fuel efficiency as high as possible.

  2. This is reassuring information for people like me who are timid about driving in snow. You don’t mention chains (I’m assuming you’re writing this for regions where people use snow tires?) but l need to learn how to use them!

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