Emergencies can happen unexpectedly. Regardless of whether your travels are local or you are planning a major cross country trip, there are several tools that you can keep in your trunk to help you survive until help arrives or get out of most of the most common difficulties that you will face on the road. Traveling, particularly during the winter snow and ice season, can create difficult situations for all drivers. Sliding off the road into a snow bank can mean that you are stranded for hours. Being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or during a sudden rain or sleet storm can also leave you sitting idle for hours until help can arrive. Taking the time beforehand to prepare for accidents and potentially disastrous situations can give you piece of mind and ensure that you are ready for anything that the road and the weather throws at you.
Essential Cold Weather Emergency Preparedness Kit Supplies for Your Car
These are items that you need to consider including in your automobile’s emergency kit. Each item is included for a specific function and, in many cases, tools can be used for multiple purposes.
- First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit will contain bandages, including small adhesive bandages, cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, tweezers, safety pins, small bandages for blisters and sunscreen. These items are useful for small, routine injuries, as well as, during a significant emergency. It is very important that you check and replenish your first aid kit annually as products can expire and/or become depleted over time.
- Reflective Triangles: Being stranded on the side of the road is very dangerous. Three reflective triangles that you can place around your car will alert oncoming traffic, particularly at night, that you are on the shoulder and lessen the chances of your car being accidentally hit.
- Foam Tire Sealant: Flat tires are not only an annoyance but they can be dangerous. Having a can of foam tire sealant handy can help you quickly get to the nearest repair shop.
- Flashlight: There are a wide variety of emergency flashlights available including windup and solar flashlights that can also charge your cell phone. Some even include a radio. These combination lights that perform a variety of functions can be invaluable. If you get stranded at night, a working flashlight will help you get safely to help.
- Rain Poncho: Just like a flashlight, a rain poncho is a useful tool should you break down or get into an accident. During a rainstorm, it can help keep you warm and dry until you can get to safety.
- Non-perishable snacks: The type of snacks that you choose are up to you but consider selecting higher calorie nutrition bars (2,400 to 3,600 calories). If you are trapped in your vehicle for an extended period of time, these can keep you nourished until emergency personnel arrive.
- Water: Emergency water is often the first thing that we think of but given that a person will need a gallon of water a day, carrying enough water for multiple people may not be a feasible option. Another option is to carry water in refillable bottles and bring along water purification tablets. That way, if you run out of water and are able to refill the bottles, you can ensure that the water will be safe to drink. Of course, if everything is frozen then you might need to thaw some snow first!
- Snow Shovel: There are many compact snow shovels available on the market. They are useful for digging out snow if you get stuck. They are also useful to burying waste, if needed.
- Windshield Ice Scraper: A scraper can help you clear a windshield quickly and safely if you get caught in a sudden snow storm.
- Duct Tape: Duct tape is the all-around multipurpose tool with a wide variety of uses. It can be used for quick mechanical fixes, work to cover wounds in a pinch and more. It’s an essential part of your toolkit.
- Warm Blanket: A woolen blanket or a space blanket is essential during the wintertime. A space blanket is the reflective blanket we often associate with marathon runners. It will help you retain heat during an emergency and is very compact. Wool also works very well, even if it is damp, to keep you warm until help arrives.
- Cat Litter: While it may be “old school”, cat litter can provide tire traction when you need it in a difficult situation.
- Multipurpose tool: Small tools that perform a variety of functions, such as a Swiss Army knife, can be helpful for a variety of emergency tasks.
This list is by no means comprehensive. There may be things that you know that you need to be prepared. The important part is to plan ahead when you venture out in the cold weather cause you never know when an emergency situation might happen while you’re driving on those winter roads.