Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to know which Winter Emergency Supplies to keep in your car, so you aren’t caught unprepared!
My friend who moved to New England, USA a few years ago, soon found out just how much she didn’t know about being prepared for winter weather. She found herself unprepared for many different situations, and 3 years later, she is still learning. Apparently the winter weather can be so unpredictable, with snow, blizzard, showers and anything in between.
Winters are not as bad here in UK, but even I’ve noticed how every year the difference between summer and winter deepends. Twenty years ago the winters were very mild and I don’t remember any snow or too much cold. The last few years, the winters have been getting colder with snow storms and everything that most Europe or USA is already used to. Well, it turns out that we are not!
So, whilst twenty years ago I wouldn’t even think about making any provisions for winter for my car, these days I think it’s really important to get ready for winter. Things come up that you just weren’t aware were even possibilities, so you don’t know to prepare for them. I’m hoping I can save someone some stress by sharing with you a few things we’ve found useful and helpful.
Here are some ideas for Winter Emergency Supplies to keep in your car, and hopefully you’ll be better prepared than we were if you get caught in a winter storm.
Roadside Emergency Kit
You can either buy one ready made, or you can make up your own. I keep this in the boot of my car all year round. My roadside emergency kit includes the following items:
- My car care guide
- Roadside recovery insurance details and phone number
- 1 8-gauge booster cable
- 1 flashlight
- 2 AA batteries
- 1 emergency poncho
- 1 safety vest
- 1 roll of duct tape
- 2-in-1 screw driver
- 6 assorted sizes of car fuses
- 1 cleaning cloth
- 4 cable ties
- 1 reusable zip lock bag
- Frst aid kit box
- Pencil & small paper notebook
We also have Roadside Assistance through our insurance company, but in the midst of a huge storm, there is a huge increase in the number of customers they are trying to serve, so the wait can be quite long. Having a some basic emergency gear with you can really come in handy.
Bottled Water & Non-perishable snacks
This is handy all year round, if you get stuck in a road closures or there are any incidents on the roads. I keep few small bottled watters in my car. It comes in handy when we’re out and about, and if we get stuck, there is plenty for everyone. I also keep some snacks in a tote bag. It could be crackers, peanut butter, snack bars together with few practical things like with paper towels, hand wipes and few plastic bags.
Nobody is going to want to use that toilet paper. Especially in the cold snow or ice. However, sometimes nature calls and needs must be met. Take proper care when leaving the car, so you can be as safe as possible. Actually, you should probably have a roll in your car no matter what the season because you just never know. Motorway stops are sometimes out of toilet tissue, so it’s always handy to have your own.
Again, this is something I have in my car all year round anyway, but in the winter this can save you from having a very uncomfortable night in your car if you get snowed under. I have a couple of warm fleece blankets which double up as a picnic blankets in the summer.
Snow and Ice Removal tools
I keep one bottle of de-icer spray in the house, and one bottle in the car. If the car is frozen in the morning, having some in the house comes in handy. If you’re out and about, or caught in a storm, a bottle in the trunk is nice.
Before winter, we make sure the windshield washer fluid we are using is rated for winter temperatures. Each brand varies as to how cold it is safe to use, and even within the brand there can be differences. You could also keep some in a spray bottle to help de-thaw windows.
Ice Scraper with Snow Brush – Having a long arm is a great feature, and it does a good job of brushing off a couple inches of snow on the vehicles.
Snow Broom – My friend got this after their first huge snow storm, and it has been the best investment. They got nearly 2 feet of snow (light/fluffy) during one storm last year, and they managed to pushed the snow right off the top and sides of the car! If it’s heavier snow, you’ll want to get it off more frequently. If you’re out in a storm and have this in the trunk, it’ll get the snow right off for you without scratching the paint.
Small Shovel – If your road side kit doesn’t come with one, make sure you have a small shovel to help dig out if you get stuck. My friend got stuck at the end of her long driveway last year and used the small shovel she had in car. It was handy, as she I didn’t have to trudge through 8 inches of snow to get up to the house for the big one.
Safety Flag with Reflectors – If you find yourself stuck in a snowbank, during a snow storm, it may be hard to see your vehicle and that is why it’s a good idea to have some form of safety flag or reflector triangle. You can also use a scarf or any bright material you have. This is what I have, it’s actually for a bicycle, but works in an emergency. You’ll want something made of a sturdy material to handle wet snow, and wind, that has reflectors. Reflector Recalls are also available separately if you want to use on another material so that you can be spotted after dark. It’s dark around 4:15 in the winter, so being prepared for night time conditions is important.
Phone Charger – Keep your phone charged, so it’s near full battery life when you leave the house. I keep a cell phone charger in my car, but it only works if the vehicle is running. If you’re stuck in a snowbank, you’ll have to turn the vehicle off to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If your car battery is dead, you won’t be able to charge your phone inside the car either. In these instances, an External Charger would come in handy. There are many brands and varieties, depending on what type of phone you have. Having both items inside the car though can be a lifesaver during an emergency.
First Aid Kit – Make sure you have at least band-aids, antiseptic, and antibiotic ointment. This is another item that would be handy year round. Having some ibuprofen and ace bandages for minor snow shovelling injuries would be helpful too!
Gloves, Hat, and Boots – Hopefully you’ll have on a heavy winter coat if the temperatures are low when you leave your home. Having water proof gloves, a cap for your head, and boots in your vehicle are great if you have to shovel snow. My water proof gloves are thick, and not great for driving, but are necessary when shoveling. It’s important to keep hands, head, and feet dry too!
So, this is how I get my car ready for winter, but what about you? What Winter Emergency Supplies do you keep in your vehicle? I’d love to know!
Stacey A Smith says
always good to have with you.
We have a car kit! I hope I never have to use it but am glad we have it just in case.
Wanda Bergman says
Great article! Some of these items we already care, but some items we’ve never thought of. I’m bookmarking this page.
A candle and matches are another good idea. A lit candle will keep the car warm so you don’t run down the car battery.
Terri Irvin says
I like the idea of keeping a phone charger in my car. I will have to check out what external charger my phone can use. Also my family should be be made aware. I live in California and we are expecting a huge rain storm (hopefully) this winter. I like the idea of everyone being safe and prepared. Thanks for the tips.