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What to include in a Winter Emergency Kit for the Car


Here in the Midwest, we are used to snow covered roads and cold temperatures, but you never know when you’re going to be on the road and run into an emergency. From sliding off the road and into a ditch, to minor accidents to running out of gas, incidents that could be no big deal during some times of the year could be life threatening when the temperatures dip near or below freezing. I’ve always been told it’s better to be safe than sorry so with that in mind, I decided to make a winter emergency kit for the car and I’ll share how you can do the same using many items that you probably already have laying around your home.


What to include and why

  1. Jumper cables (or portable battery jumper), flares, a bottle of Fix-a-Flat, a spare tire, jack and basic tools for working on the vehicle.

You probably already have these items in your trunk, but do a quick inspection before winter to make sure before bad weather hits.

  1. A Blanket.

Don’t assume that you’ll be able to leave your vehicle running keep the heat on if you get stranded along the side of the road. It’s important that you stay warm to avoid hypothermia. Keep a warm (preferably wool) blanket in your trunk or backseat for easy access.

  1. A cell phone, car charger and battery pack.

It’s common to travel with your cell phone and it’s also common for your cell phone battery to die when you may need it most. Plus, the cold can drain your cell phone battery pretty quickly. It’s smart to keep a car charger on hand, but if you’re unable to start your car for whatever reason, you may not be able to charge your phone. Make sure you have an external battery pack or two on hand and make sure it’s charged.

  1. A flashlight and extra batteries.

If you need to exit your vehicle in the dark, you’ll want to make sure that you can see where you’re going and that any vehicles in the area can see you.

  1. A gallon of water and some snacks.

Snack ideas include granola bars, raisins and peanut butter and crackers, something you can simply open and eat that doesn’t need to be cooked or heated up.

  1. A roll of toilet paper.

My grandmother used to keep a roll of toilet paper in her vehicle at all times which I thought was ridiculous until someone needed it. Whether you need to blow your nose or the urge to pee suddenly strikes, you want to be prepared.

  1. A basic first aid kit.

A basic first aid is important any time of year. Make sure it’s stocked with bandages, ointments, pain medicine and any prescription medicine that you may need in an emergency.

  1.  A bag of kitty litter or sand.

If you get stuck on snow or ice, you may need a bit of traction to get you back on the road. Both kitty litter and sand may provide the traction your need.

  1. A shovel.

Just in case you need to dig yourself out.


With the exception of the kitty litter, sand, shovel and everything I mentioned in #1 should be kept in the back seat or at arm’s length so it’s easily accessible.

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What would you include in a winter emergency kit for the car?