Winter Emergency Kit – Being prepared can save your life!
Making A Winter Emergency Kit
A patch of black ice can come out of nowhere, and in the middle of a snowstorm you could be stranded for hours before towing or emergency service can get to you. Winter or not, it is a good idea to have an emergency kit in your vehicle that you can access in a time of need.
Common Winter Emergency Kit Essentials:
- Spare tire – Most vehicles will already have this, but knowing how to change a tire is essential. Some modern vehicles forgo the spare and opt instead for a compressor with sealant. Whatever your vehicle has, the best bit of equipment is the knowledge of how to use it. Changing a tire can be practiced at home, and every member of the family should be aware of how to do so.
- Flashlight – Common sense dictates that if you get stranded at night, you need to see and be seen. Make sure batteries are fresh or you have replacements. A flashlight with strobe will help set a fun disco mood should you end up stranded and find yourself in need of something to break the tension. It also catches the attention of passing drivers.
- Spare fluids – Water (for you) and other engine fluids (for your car) such as coolants and antifreeze. If you spring a leak a few dozen clicks from a service station, a spare bottle of coolant could be the difference between driving yourself and a very expensive tow.
- Booster cables – A surprisingly low amount of drivers carry booster cables. You may never need them, but a fellow driver might. Know how to use them. Follow this rhyme “Red from the dead, to red on the good. Black from the good, to under the hood” Red being the positive terminal, black being the negative, and under the hood being metal in the engine block away from the battery.
- Ice scraper – Self-explanatory, if fluids and heat have failed, nothing beats chipping away at ice the old fashioned way. This also saves you looking through your purse or wallet for an old gift card to use, a quite embarrassing example of not being prepared.
- Warm Clothes – Blankets, coats, toques, socks, gloves and if you have room snow pants and boots are all handy in case you get stuck. A lot of clothes can be folded up inside a winter jacket and take up very little room inside your trunk. If you’ve been wondering what to do with that ugly sweater Aunt Edna made you a few Christmases ago, stick it in your trunk. It could save your life.
Less Common Essentials (That Can Save Your Life!):
- Energy bars – You worked all day. You have some leftover pizza in the fridge that’s calling your name. You ditch your car on the way home and you can’t get towed for 3 hours. While you probably aren’t in danger of dying from malnourishment, having a few energy bars can tie you over and keep your blood sugar levels good until help arrives.
- Kitty litter or sand – This isn’t in case you decide to take in stray cats while waiting for a tow. Sometimes, a car is stuck simply because it loses traction. Kitty litter under the wheels can give your car just enough traction to free itself and get back on the road.
- Old cell phone – It’s very likely at this point you’ve got an old flip phone that rings “living la vida loca” when you get a call sitting a drawer somewhere at home. Older flip phones had batteries that lasted weeks with regular use and months in standby. By law, every cell phone in Canada must be able to call emergency services, regardless of having a plan or not. If you’re stuck and your phone has died, you’ll have a reliable backup. If you don’t have an old cell phone, old flip phone are inexpensive through pawn shops or online.
- Tow ropes or chains – Good Samaritans are much less expensive than tow trucks. Carrying your own way of having a vehicle free you is a good way to save yourself a potentially hefty bill.
- Camping Supplies – Think of time spent roadside as very temporary camping. Having items like matches, emergency whistles and candles can help keep you safe and warm
- Medication – If anyone that normally travels in your vehicle requires medication, such as asthma inhalers or insulin, having an extra dose in the vehicle could be critical. Even without the need for prescription medication, having some basic pain relievers like Tylenol or anvil, indigestion aids like Pepto-Bismol or Tums, and some basic first aid supplies (Band-Aids, Q-Tips, etc.) can stop a bad situation for getting much worse.
The Most Important Part Of The Kit – Being Prepared!
As we’ve said before, the best advice for winter driving is to simply be prepared. Always give yourself extra time when heading out in bad weather, and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. With safe driving a priority, you’ll hopefully never have to open your emergency kit. With the tips and materials provided here, you can feel safe knowing that no matter what winter may throw at you, you’ll be prepared!
What do you have in your winter emergency kit? Let us know in the comments below!
Related articles – Conquering Winter Driving