Icy and slippery roads. Snow-covered pavements. Reduced visibility. The biting cold.
These are all recipes for disaster.
Let’s get something straight: wintertime isn’t an ideal time for anyone to drive. If you’re unlucky, you might get tangled up in a messy situation.
But if you must go out under harsh weather conditions to stock up on pantry supplies, at least have a winter survival kit ready in your car.
Now, this isn’t just any survival kit. It’s a kit specially designed for frosty weather.
Before we jump into what goes inside your winter emergency car kit, here’s a refresher on how to drive safe during the cold season:
Winter Driving Tips to Avoid Road Mishaps
No matter how careful you are on the road, a spin-out collision or rear-end car crash can happen out of nowhere. And in frigid temperatures, accidents like these can have devastating consequences.
Getting behind the wheel on icy roads is a huge safety risk, so be cautious to prevent fatal injuries. Here are some winter driving tips to keep in mind:
- Wear your seatbelt at all times. This should be a given, but some folks still forget to buckle up before driving.
- You’re not in a Fast & Furious movie, so slow the hell down. Speed limits are there for a reason.
- You need to have complete control of your vehicle in wintry conditions, so don’t even think about using cruise control.
- We meant it when we said you have to be extra careful. Make sure you accelerate and decelerate steadily.
- Maneuver your vehicle with smooth and precise movements because a sudden switch in lanes can cause skidding.
- Keep a safe following distance with the car ahead of you since motor vehicle collisions are expected during the winter.
- Make sure you get some inertia before taking on a hill because you shouldn’t stop while ascending.
- When the weather worsens, consider pulling off the road to a safe place until conditions improve.
If these driving tips fail to get you home safe after a quick run to the supermarket, then you better be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Anything can happen on the road. For example, you might get stranded in a snowbank on the side of the road. It will be a whole lot easier if you have an emergency car kit.
Essential Items to Pack in Your Winter Car Survival Kit
The weather is so unpredictable that a typical winter day can turn into a big snowstorm within minutes. This kind of situation is exactly why a winter car survival kit is vital.
In case you get stranded out in the cold, the contents of your kit are what will keep you alive until help arrives. If you still don’t have one tucked in the back of your car, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the things you need in your winter car survival kit:
Warmth is essential when it’s the winter season. If you don’t wanna freeze to death, you’re gonna need certain pieces of clothing to stay warm.
Even though only a quarter of body heat is lost through the scalp, a simple winter hat to keep you comfortable still matters. With a hat, your ears and face won’t get too numb.
Hand and Foot Warmers
Suppose the car heater doesn’t work its magic on a winter day. Since your hands and feet will feel chilly, it’s best to include hand and foot warmers in your emergency car kit. These warmers will keep you from shivering in the biting cold.
A survival blanket is one of your best shots to avoid hypothermia. It gives you an extra layer of warmth when the situation becomes critical. Since most blankets like this can fit two people, huddling close to your companion will help slow the rate of heat loss.
It gets dark earlier in the evening during winter, so streetlamps might not provide enough light.
If you’re driving late and still find yourself on the road, a tactical flashlight with an extra set of batteries might come in handy in case you encounter vehicular problems along the way.
While battery-operated flashlights are great in emergencies, they’ll eventually run out of power unless you own a rechargeable tac light that comes with a USB cord.
Bringing an alternative light source like emergency candles will make all the difference.
What makes candles a worthy choice? They don’t just serve as light on a cold, dark winter night; they also serve as a heating option. Just be careful when handling them because they’re still a fire hazard.
Of course, you need something to light your emergency candles. The best tool for that is a BIC lighter. Compared to matches, it’s easier to use and can even start more fires. Plus, it’s compact and cheap.
One of the many unfortunate things about the frosty weather is that roads get blocked with buttloads of snow. You might even get your vehicle stuck in the middle of the road. When this happens, you’ll need something to help you dig your way out.
What gear is best for the job? An entrenching tool. It’s perfect for digging jobs and other survival-related tasks like shelter-building. With this tool in your kit, it’s easier and faster to dig piles of snow out of your way.
You’ll likely encounter some car problems in the winter season. When you do, don’t be a fool by working on your ride with bare hands. You don’t wanna lose your fingers to frostbite, right? So pack a pair of tactical gloves for maximum hand protection.
If you didn’t know, the cold weather affects your car battery performance. When your battery gets extremely cold, it loses its strength and can no longer supply enough current to keep up with the demand. As a result, it’ll be impossible to start your car without assistance.
This scenario is where your jumper cables come in. Check out the video above to learn how to jump-start your vehicle correctly.
Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
If you experience frequent snowfall or you mainly deal with ice and frost, then it’s wise to include an ice scraper and a snow brush in your emergency car kit. These tools will help increase your driver visibility and prevent any mishaps on wintry roads.
First Aid Kit
Accidents are common during the chilly times of the year, which means you should prepare for them. Medical assistance might not be available right away, so it’s all up to you to treat the injuries you can while help is on the way. Check out the primary contents of a first aid kit here.
Food and Water
Of course, food and water are vital for survival, so they’ll always be a staple in emergency kits. Just make sure you store food that doesn’t spoil quickly, like energy bars. And replace your water bottles every six months to avoid contamination.
Driving in wintry conditions can be tricky, even if you consider yourself an excellent driver.
You can’t control the weather, and you most certainly have zero control over irresponsible truck drivers, motorists, and pedestrians.
Your only defense from misfortunes on the road is by prepping for them. This includes assembling your winter car survival kit.
While the winter season is still months away, now is the time to start building your own kit. Just add whatever survival supplies you need and stash them in the trunk of your car.