Winter vehicle emergencies can be pretty harsh. If you breakdown, wreck or slide off the freeway that’s one thing, help should be there soon.
But, if you’re on the road less traveled and it’s late at night and something happens, you could be stuck there for a while. If for some reason you can’t start your vehicle in that situation, you have about 20 minutes before it starts getting cold in your car. You already have an emergency kit in your vehicle, right? Just in case you don’t, we’ll be covering that in a later post. But, from here we’ll assume you’ve got a basic 72 hour survival kit in your vehicle. These are some things you should add to it for the winter:
- Blankets – at least one per passenger you might have with you
- Handwarmers – they’re really cheap and work really well. You can get a big package of chemical handwarmers from Costco or Sams for about 10 bucks. When the only heat available is from your body, you’ll be glad for a small external source!
- Coat and gloves – keep at least one spare coat and pair of gloves in the back, if you don’t have them on for some reason and you have to get out of the car, you’ll be glad they’re there! In fact, keep at least one spare full set of cold weather gear back there!
- Jumper Cables – if you don’t already have them in your regular kit, make sure you put them in. Your battery might not be able to start when you’re done at the store. You’ll get someone to help you jump your car much faster if you can provide the cables for it!
- Tow Rope – again, if you don’t already have one in your regular kit, make sure you put one in. If you slip off the road or become stuck for some reason, a lot more people will be able to help you if you can supply the tow rope!
- Make sure you have one of the ice scrapers that has a big brush on it as well – if your car is covered with several inches of snow and ice, your hands will thank you repeatedly for using a brush to clean it all off.
- Shovel – whether a snow shovel or just a flat shovel, if you get stuck you may have to dig yourself out. Doing it with your hands sucks!
- Sandbag – not only will this put some extra weight in your vehicle, giving you better control, but you can also use it to help get yourself unstuck. If you’re stuck and have to dig out, ice can form under the snow you’re compacting. Dump sand out of the bag onto the ice to give your tires something to grip when you’re trying to pull out!
- IceMelt – In the scenario in #8, if that doesn’t work you can try this, but it takes more time to work. Spread generous amounts of IceMelt in front of and behind your tires to help get rid of any ice that’s prohibiting your exit. You’ll have to wait 15 or 20 minutes for it to work though.
Again, we’re assuming that you already have a car survival kit and these are just some winter supplements for it. Are there other things that you think are important to supplement your emergency kit with in winter? Let us know!
Don’t miss our final post in this series, Tips for Driving in the Snow.