With the winter storm fast approaching over the holiday weekend many people are changing their plans for safety reasons. If you choose to not change your plans or have no way you can get around going out in the storms you should pack a winter emergency kit for your car.
Your winter emergency kit in your car can save your life should you get stranded in a snowstorm. From jumper cables to jump your battery to blankets and food you should not travel in the storm unprepared.
Why you need to have an emergency kit in your car
Being prepared for anything can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. You can use your emergency kit to keep warm, feed yourself, and treat minor injuries if you are involved in an accident or stranded on the road in a snowstorm.
As many have discovered during the big winter storm last year help may not be coming for a long time and having a backup plan can save your life or at least help keep you more comfortable while you wait for the situation to clear up.
When you are prepared for the worst-case scenario it is easier to keep your calm and handle what is coming your way. I always suggest that you over-prepare things going wrong so you can keep your cool and get out of the base situation without making things worse.
Being calm can drastically increase your chance of survival in even the worst emergency situations.
What should be in your car emergency kit
Keeping an emergency kit in your car is truly essential and there are some basics you should keep year-round like a first aid kit and a basic road kit but in the winter there are extras you should include.
The most important thing to keep in your car emergency kit is a first aid kit. In an accident, you never know when help will arrive; stabilizing yourself or a loved one could save their lives.
Packing a basic first aid kit can help ensure that you have what you need for scrapes and bruises on the go as well as giving some support in a minor car accident. To take it up a notch and help in bigger situations you can keep these items in your first aid kit in your vehicle including quick clot, a clotting agent that can stop heavy bleeding quickly.
You would be surprised how many people do not keep even a simple basic road kit in their car at any given time. For safety reasons and for getting back on the road after being stranded in your car, a road kit is essential.
A basic road kit should include jumper cables, road flares, fix a flat, and basic tools like a jack and tire iron so you can change to your spare tire on the road.
If you are stranded you do not want to use all of your gas in your car for things like charging your phone when you do not need to kick the heat on. Instead save it to use for heating, cooling, and moving once you can, and use a portable battery charger. If your car is completely disabled, charging may not even be an option.
Clothing and blankets
If you live in a cold area you should consider keeping spare warm clothing and blankets in your car at all times.
Even if you live in a warm area mylar emergency blankets can be invaluable for fighting off signs on shock after an accident or blocking the heat of the sun from the interior of your car while you are stranded to help keep you cooler.
Food and water
Your car emergency kit should, like your house, include food and water for 72 hours. This will help to protect your family should you be stranded or in an evacuation situation.
Thinking ahead and packing emergency food can help keep you comfortable and keep a bad situation from getting worse.
You can pack emergency food bars to help save on space and they can stay in your car year-round. For water you want to keep it somewhere it will not freeze so you do not need to waste fuel melting it.
Keep a flashlight on hand in your car to ensure that you have light in an emergency. Packing one just for this means you do not need to drain your phone battery to see what you are doing.
This can be handy for keeping kids from being scared while stranded or allowing you to examine the exterior of your car after an accident for making simple repairs in the dark.
A shovel even a small folding shovel can be handy for getting your car out when it is stuck in snow or mud. Add this simple item to your car’s emergency kit. This can be a handy tool if you get stuck in a snow drift.
Cat litter or road salt
Cat litter or road salt can be great to keep in your car during the winter to ensure that you can get off of ice if you find yourself stranded.
You will be able to get out of a jam much sooner and more cheaply if you melt the ice on the road instead of calling a tow truck in the event of an ice storm.
Keep the litter or salt in a jug to make pouring it easy without getting your hands cold. I like to keep rock salt in an old kitty litter jug so I can pour the litter
How to pack your emergency kit
Your emergency kit is best kept in different parts of your car. The first aid kit is most valuable in and easy to reach places such as the glove box, center console, or the pocket behind the seat. This is because you can easily grab it for things like headache medication when you need it on a normal day.
Your road kit should also be stowed in the trunk where it is less likely to become a projectile during an accident.
You can also utilize the space under your seats for securing things like emergency food and water packages and spare clothing where they will not take up space around your vehicle where you need for passengers and transporting goods from one place to another.
Remember that even if you can not pack everything on this list every item you do have is one step closer to being prepared and one less thing you have to worry about on the road. Safe travels.