windshield ice

Winter Car Gear: Do You Have All 7 Essentials Listed Here?

No matter how much we might want to deny it, winter has arrived, but it has also brought bad weather along for the ride. Rain, snow, and ice can quickly make the roads more dangerous, and overlooking the importance of having an emergency kit on hand is a mistake that could put you and your passengers in harm’s way. You can take steps to reduce the threat, but getting stuck out in the cold is always a possibility that you will want to keep in mind.

With the right gear, you can enhance your safety and comfort during unexpected accidents, traffic jams, and snowstorms. We have covered just how important it is to prepare for winter driving in a previous article, and it is now time for you to learn about the gear that could save your life.

Windshield De-Icer

Anyone who lives in a cold climate understands the pain of scraping snow and ice off a frozen windshield. Not only is this task uncomfortable to complete, but it is also a time-consuming process.

You can make your daily commute easier than ever by stocking up on windshield de-icer. With a quick spray, you will be amazed to see thin layers of ice melt almost instantly. If you are facing a thick layer of ice, you will need to wait a little longer, but the de-icer will still work its magic.

Snow Socks

When snow and ice gather around your tires, getting your car or truck out of its parking space is not a simple goal to achieve. In addition to being stuck in a parking spot, you also run the risk of sliding into the ditch.

By Amada44 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Amada44 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You can reduce a lot of stress by putting snow socks in your vehicle for situations that require extra traction. Made from fabric, snow socks are easy to install and will grip the snow and ice without much effort.

Sand or Cat Litter

When winter weather is at its worst, keeping some sand or cat litter in your trunk or back seat is a smart move that you will not want to overlook. In some cases, you will need as much help as you can get to gain traction.

If your vehicle happens to be stuck, pouring the sand or cat litter around your tires will go a long way when it comes to getting the traction that you need. Try to keep at least two or three bags with you if your budget allows.

Phone Charger, Flashlight and Extra Batteries

Because you will not always be able to prevent breaking down or getting stranded, keeping a phone charger, flashlight, and extra batteries in your glove compartment is critical. If you are like other drivers, you sometimes forget to charge your phone before you leave the house, but when disaster strikes, your phone could be your only lifeline to signal for help.

Having a phone charger within reach enables you to charge your phone as you drive, but cold winter can prevent cars from starting. The best option is to have a phone charger and a power bank in your vehicle at all times, and if your vehicle does not start, the power bank will keep your phone charged long enough for you to call someone. To cover all bases, consider getting a flashlight and some extra batteries.

Wool Blanket and Extra Clothing

If your car or truck shuts off during the winter months, it will not be long before the heat from your car is replaced with dangerously cold air.

Depending on the severity of the winter weather, it might take a while before friends or rescue services arrive at your location. In order to stay warm, keep a wool blanket and some extra clothing in your emergency kit – they could save you from hypothermia and frostbite.

LED Flashers and Flares

Being broken down on the side of the road is a stressful experience, and if you happen to break down during night, rescue crews might take longer to find you. One more issue with breaking down during night or heavy snowfall is that other cars might not notice you in time and accidently run into you because of poor visibility.

Having something to signal your location will prevent such issues, and rescue services/roadside assistance will find you easier. LED flashers will last for hours and make you easy to spot. Many drivers opt to keep LED flashers and flares so that they will have several paths from which to choose. Flares are great because the heat that they emit will melt the snow as it falls, and they will not be dimmed. An added bonus is that you can also use flares to start a fire in case of emergency.

Food and Drink

Being stuck in your car for more than one day is not common, but it is not impossible. Even though the risk is small, you will still want to take steps to protect yourself and others from the unthinkable. By keeping a box of nutrient dense foods, like energy bars, nearby, you will have access to nutrients.

Photo by Foodista on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

Photo by Foodista on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

Staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as any other time of the year, so you do not want to forget to keep several bottles of water in your kit. Fruit juice and other sugary drinks will not freeze as quickly as water – their freezing point is lower than water’s, so keep a few of them around just in case. The amount of food and drink that you buy will depend on the number of passengers that you transport, but each person should have enough supplies to last 24 hours.

Final Thoughts

If your car were to break down on your next trip, would you have the gear needed to ensure you are comfortable while you wait for roadside assistance? If you are unsure about the answer, then it is time to take action and stock up your car. Keeping track of the gear in your emergency kit might not be easy, but having a checklist will simplify it.

Winter is the time that presents the greatest risk, but the items in your kit can also be helpful in the spring, summer, and fall. Also, by having your car serviced regularly, you can lower the risk of a breakdown considerably, so do not skip your regular checkups.

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