13 Things You Need in Your Winter Car Survival Kit
Don’t get stranded out in the cold – make your own winter car survival kit.
Build Your Own Winter Survival Kit
Small LED Flashlight
Make sure your car kit contains a small LED flashlight with fresh batteries. Flashlights are a godsend for changing flats, or to see under the hood to find any quick fixes. And once the sun sets, you’ll want something to illuminate the interior of the cabin for writing down notes, phone numbers, etc. And in some cases, you can use the flashlight to signal oncoming cars or help a tow truck pinpoint your location.
Cell Phone Car Charger
Notepad and Pen or Pencil
When you call for a tow, there are likely additional phone numbers a dispatcher will give you, as well as a possible incident number. Or if you’re in an accident, you’ll need the other drivers license and plate number. If your pen isn’t writing, it could be frozen, so warm it up between your hands. Or you can use a trusty pencil, too (though it might be harder to read in poor lighting).
Portable Air Compressor
Simple Tool Kit
There are a few roadside fixes that can be accomplished with some common tools. Pack a couple screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench and some duct tape. If you can get your car moving again and to a service station with a few Macgyver tricks, you may not only get home safe and sound, you’ll save yourself the cost of a tow. Check out this guide to troubleshooting a car that won’t start.
A small bag of safety absorbent can help your car regain traction when you’re stuck on ice. Cat litter also works, but floor sweep absorbent works better. (Sold at auto parts stores, it’s sprinkled on garage floors before sweeping to absorb oil and grease.) Do you have 4-wheel-drive? Make sure you know how to use it, especially in winter. Brush up on the basics of 4-wheel-drive here.
Digging out compacted snow from under the car or around the wheels is much easier with a proper shovel. Plus, using your hands, even in gloves, can cool you down fast. When you don’t have room for a full-size shovel (and really, who does?), the next best thing is a foldable shovel. You can pick them up online or in military surplus stores. Maybe the best tip, though, is becoming a better winter driver. Learn our best winter driving tips here.
Warm Hat and Gloves
Staying warm is the most important survival tactic when you’re stranded in the winter. It’s always a good idea to have an extra hat and gloves so you (or an under-clothed guest) can keep warm while getting your car out of a ditch, changing a tire or taking a look under the hood.