Even though you may feel confident behind the wheel when driving in winter conditions, it’s strongly advised to keep an emergency kit in your car for “just in case.”
No matter the experience a person may have when exposed to snowy, icy or otherwise difficult winter conditions, one can never be too cautious. An inexperienced driver, wildlife and other hazards could easy lead to losing control behind the wheel, potentially leaving you stranded or requiring help and supplies.
Apart from following the basic winter road rules – driving slow, leaving plenty of space between one vehicle and another, staying home when snow is falling fast or temperatures plummet, etc. – having an emergency kit handy is vital to ensuring everyone stays as safe as possible when conditions get tricky.
Here is a list of items that should be included in every vehicle emergency kit:
(1) Thick Blanket
This may seem like an odd requirement, but heavy, warm blankets are essential if your car can’t be left running and you and your passengers need to bundle up for an extended period of time. A wool blanket can do the trick – one that’s big enough to cover multiple people at once.
(2) Waterproof or Warm Clothing
Since car mishaps can happen at any time without warning you might not be bundled up for the drive. Having extra warm clothing – as well as waterproof items to keep you warm and dry if you need to venture outside the vehicle – is smart. This will include gloves, sweatshirts and winter hats. And, don’t forget to have an extra pair of boots on hand to better navigate snow and ice around your vehicle.
(3) Lamp or Flashlight
Many auto accidents that happen in winter occur at night when temperatures dip and visibility is reduced. If you have a problem, you may need light to see inside or outside the vehicle. Having a light source, as well as extra batteries, is a necessity.
(4) First-Aid Kit
If it might take a while for emergency workers to arrive if you have an accident and someone needs basic medical attention. Having a first-aid kit on hand is a must.
Your car or truck may become stuck in the snow. Having a small shovel to clear the area around the vehicle – especially near the tires – is a great idea.
(6) Sand or Kitty Litter
In addition to having a shovel, when cars get stuck on snow or ice, putting something gritty under the tires helps a vehicle gain traction and work their way out of otherwise tough situations.
(7) Road Flares
Cars stuck on the side of dimly lit roads can be hazardous. Having a few road flares on hand will help ensure everyone can see your vehicle and greatly reduce the chances of another accident.
(8) Reflective Clothing or Items
Related to increasing visibility, if anyone has to leave a vehicle at night it’s wise to have a reflective vest packed, according to the National Safety Council. (Companies now also make reflective wrist and ankle wraps.)
While it’s not usually necessary for someone to pack an entire toolkit, having a few tools in your, emergency kit is a great idea. This will allow you to tighten screws, loosen nuts or bolts, and make simple fixes as needed.
(10) Extra Phone Battery and Charger
Most people have a phone charger in their vehicle as a standard practice. In addition, because some car-charging ports don’t work unless the vehicle is running, have a spare battery pack fully charged and ready to go just in case. You do not want to be in a situation in which you need to make an emergency call but cannot use your mobile phone.
It should go without saying, but going too long without hydration isn’t the best move, so having a few extra bottles of water in an emergency kit is a must. This is especially true if you are putting in some effort shoveling or clearing a path.
(12) Non-Perishable Snacks
Keep a few non-perishable energy bars in your kit. This will be handy if you end up being stuck on the side of the road for three or more hours.
(13) Windshield Scraper and Brush
When your car is at a standstill or while driving through a snow storm, frost and snow can quickly build up. Keep a scraper and brush handy to clear windows.
(14) Jumper Cables
If your car’s battery dies, you can’t count on other drivers to have jumper cables to get you out of a jam. Having a pair of your own is a very good item to have on hand.
While these items certainly aren’t the only things that should be included in a winter road emergency kit, this is at the very least a good start for what drivers should pack.
Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.