What to Include In your Winter Emergency Kit

Driving along rural snow covered road surrounded by forest in the day in a winter first snow in Europe, moody sky

Driving in the winter can be an unpleasant experience. Slippery roads, poor visibility and extreme cold can be difficult to contend with. Though your car may be equipped to handle the winter drive, you also need to be ready for the unexpected, and the chance that you may end up stuck in your car for a long period of time. Having a proper winter emergency kit can be essential.

The Good Hands Advice team has developed a list of items to include in your winter emergency kit to help winterize the inside of your car.

  1. Water – While you could eat some fresh snow to help quench your thirst in a pinch, it’s not the healthiest option. Keeping a few bottles of water (plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes) in the trunk is a far better way to stay hydrated and alert if you become stranded by the side of the road.
  2. Non-perishable food – You’ll want items that can be opened easily, won’t spoil and can be eaten cold. Energy bars are a great option.
  3. Candle in a deep tin (and matches!) – If you find yourself stuck in your car and can’t run your engine or the heater, a single tea light candle can provide much needed warmth in an enclosed area. Just be sure to practice safety when the candle is in use. Open flames can be dangerous. Another great option is disposable warming packs that are quickly activated and can be tucked into mitts and boots.
  4. Warm clothing – A warm pair of mitts or gloves and a toque stored in your car can help conserve heat and protect extremities. A dry pair of warm socks is also a good idea to keep your toes toasty.
  5. Blanket – A warm blanket is a great option for keeping your body temperature up if you’re going to be stuck for a prolonged period, especially when you’re trying to preserve gas.
  6. Shovel – You may find yourself in a situation where you have to dig your car out of snow. A small, light shovel can be just the thing you need to get your car moving again. That said, be careful not to tire yourself out too much. Shoveling can be dangerous if you don’t exercise caution.
  7. Sand or salt – If you’ve ever been stuck in an icy situation, you already know that the more your tires spin, the slicker and more slippery your predicament can become. Sometimes all you need is some well-placed sand to provide the traction needed to get moving again. Salt will also help melt the ice.
  8. Windshield washer fluid – You can never have enough washer fluid on hand in the winter. With all the slush and snow the season brings, there’s always a danger of running out at the worst possible time.
  9. Tow rope – If you’re stuck in a snowbank or ditch, you might need a pull from a friend. Or, if you’d like to be a “good Samaritan”, you may be the one doing the pulling. Either way, a length of strong rope in your kit is always a plus.

Check your kit at the start of each winter season to replace any older food and water and to ensure all other items are in good shape. Once your kit is loaded and stowed in your trunk, hopefully you’ll be able to “weather” any situation until help arrives.

To learn more tips about safe winter driving, be sure to visit our article simple steps for safe winter driving .

Have more ideas for your winter emergency kit? Let us know in the comments!

Originally published January 2016