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If you think topping up your tank and quickly inflating your tires is adequate preparation for a winter car journey, think again.
As the saying goes, fail to plan and plan to fail. Nowhere is this truer than setting out unprepared for a car trip when the temperature plummets and the foul winter weather sets in.
Alongside the usual basics you’d pop in the trunk anyway, check out our list of 13 key items to safeguard you in the event of an accident or breakdown when it’s snowing.
13 might be unlucky for some, but it won’t be unlucky for you if you have everything on this checklist…
- Ice Scraper
- Extra Clothing
- First Aid Kit
- Jump Leads
- Spare Gas Can
- Spare Tire
- Tool Kit
- Bag of Sand
- Dried Food
Now, let’s jump into details and describe why these things are a must to store them in your car during winter, or even through all seasons – for your personal safety and for everyone that are in the car.
We’ll start with the blindingly obvious. Get a decent ice scraper and keep it in the car year round.
Simply cleaning your windscreen and windows before setting off can prevent an accident from happening in the first place.
You can get ice scrapers with folding, telescopic arms so you can stash them easily in the glove box without eating up too much space.
Even before anything goes wrong, it’s comforting to have a nice blanket to wrap yourself up in driving on a cold day.
If the snow is falling and you end up getting stuck, blankets come in doubly valuable.
Find some old blankets and pop them in the trunk. You’ll be delighted at your foresight if you find yourself trapped in a snowdrift or broken down at the roadside.
While blankets are all well and good if you’re staying put in the car, how about if you need to go and get help or more gas?
A spare jacket along with a hat, scarf and gloves could mean the difference between strolling down the road in relative warmth and shivering while regretting your failure to think ahead.
It’s not enough to have a first aid kit. You need to have some basic skills in place so you can use it confidently in the event of an accident.
There’s no need to go over the top here. Either assemble your own kit with what you would reasonably use or buy a ready-made version in a carry case.
Whether you call them jump leads or jumper cables, flat batteries are one of the most routine and frustrating car issues.
Keep a set of cables in the car( click to see the best on the market) and you’ll maximize your chance of getting back on the road promptly.
Whether you’ve left your headlights on or the cold weather has zapped the juice from it, don’t let a flat battery put a dampener on your trip.
Spare Gas Can
Obviously, it’s a sensible idea never to put yourself in the situation of running out of gas.
These things happen, though. Few of us can say we’ve never run the car on fumes and been caught out unexpectedly.
Since you obviously don’t want to keep flammable fuel in the trunk, make sure you’ve got a spare gas can so you can head to the nearest garage and top up if needed.
This is where those warm clothes we mentioned come in handy, too!
A decent flashlight is something worth having in the car at all times. In the winter, it’s especially likely to come in handy.
Sure, your phone might come with a flashlight app but do you fancy changing your tire with your $1000 iPhone balanced precariously on the spare tire?
Tactical flashlights with SOS modes are really not expensive. Do yourself a favor and invest in one for winter driving.
Firstly, it always makes sense to repair any tires with questionable tread before the icy and snowy weather kicks in.
Regardless of how well you keep on top of your tires, accidents happen.
Don’t sell yourself short with a space-saving tire or risk going without one at all. A proper and fully-inflated spare tire in good condition is an essential year-round not just for winter.
Not everyone is a mechanic and there’s less that can be readily repaired at the road-side as cars become more complex.
That said, a basic tool kit in the trunk could be a lifesaver if you get caught out in inclement weather.
There’s no need to go over the top but keep a few essentials on hand.
Bag of Sand
If you’ve ever been stuck and unable to pull away on an icy strip of road, you’ll know how frustrating it can be.
With a small bag of sand in the trunk, you can scatter it across the road if you’re stuck in an awkward spot.
An added bonus? The heavy bag itself will give your car some added weight in the rear which also helps with traction.
While a full-sized shovel is perhaps impractical to keep in the car, consider picking up a collapsible model.
Whether you need to clear your driveway before setting out or remove some snow from under the tires when you return from a country walk, a decent shovel on tap can be a real lifesaver.
Veering into a situation of outright emergency in an isolated area, a flare is indispensable.
You can check this flare gun for details.
Even if visibility is limited, an emergency flare will alert others to your plight and is a valuable tool if you’re driving on desolate roads in wintery conditions.
While it might seem overkill, a stash of dried food in some decent storage containers could be the smartest decision you make if you end up breaking down and stranded for a lengthy spell.
Let’s face it, if you keep regular snacks in the car, you’re likely to eat them before they’re genuinely needed. Dried food will serve a turn in an emergency.
Don’t forget some water too so you stay nicely hydrated.
A Final Word
If you make sure you have a comprehensive safety kit in place, breaking down in the snow needn’t be a nightmare.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or feedback. Feel free to share any of our articles on your social media channels and come back soon!