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Winter Car Tips: 12 Things You Should Always Have in Your Car During the Winter

Winter driving can be nerve-racking and often dangerous. If you're heading out into the snow and ice, here are 12 things you should always keep in your car during the winter months.

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winter car tips ice-scraperrodimov/Shutterstock

Ice Scraper

Let’s first state the obvious: Ice scrapers are the most essential winter car-care tool out there. Use one to clear off the snow and the ice, and don’t forget to clean off your front and back lights before you hit the road.

Photo: rodimov/Shutterstock

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flashlight in the darkMargoLev/Shutterstock

Flashlight

A flashlight is a good addition to your glove compartment and can come in handy if you need to get out of the car in the dark to change a tire, check under the hood or just need to flag someone down. Look for one that is weatherproof so it can be used in all weather conditions.

Photo: MargoLev/Shutterstock

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shovel-snow-stuck-car-winter-stormoticki/Shutterstock

Shovel


Invest in an extra shovel and keep it in your trunk for peace of mind. It will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in a snowbank, a ditch or just find a bunch of snow pushed up against your car thanks to a snow plow. If you’re tight on trunk space, consider a folding shovel or one with a collapsible handle.

Photo: oticki/Shutterstock

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jumper cablesNor Gal/Shutterstock

Jumper Cables


Jumper cables will come in handy, especially if you live in an area where it gets very cold during the winter (or if you’re just prone to forgetting to turn the headlights off). Before using the cables, make sure you know how to use them safely.

Photo: Nor Gal/Shutterstock

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Tire Pressure Gauge John Panella/Shutterstock

Tire Pressure Gauge


Cold weather can impact the air in your tires, so keep a tire pressure gauge handy. By checking the pressure on a regular basis and keeping tires at the right pressure level, you’ll help your tires last longer and get better gas mileage.

Photo: John Panella/Shutterstock

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cat-litterAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Cat Litter


If you get stuck in the snow and your wheels are spinning, cat litter can help if it’s spread underneath the tires. Keep a box in your trunk or in the backseat to help give you some extra traction when you need it most.

Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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plaid blanketRG-vc/Shutterstock

Blanket


If you become stranded in the winter, it’s going to get cold fast. Keep a heavy blanket in your car just in case.

Photo: RG-vc/Shutterstock

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car-phone-chargerCasezy idea/Shutterstock

Phone Charger


The last thing you want if you get stuck somewhere is for your phone to have a dead battery. Keep a phone charger in your car at all times, not just during the winter months.

Photo: Casezy idea/Shutterstock

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Emergency Escape Toolsarawut muensang/Shutterstock

Emergency Escape Tool


An emergency escape tool is inexpensive and will fit in your glove compartment or some can be kept on a key chain. These tools can be used to break glass, cut seat belts and some even have a flashlight, sirens or offer backup USB power for a cell phone. You never want to need this tool but it’s best to be prepared for anything.

Photo: sarawut muensang/Shutterstock

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carpet-scrap-remnantMichael Kraus/Shutterstock

Carpet Remnant


Keep a carpet remnant square in the car in case you need it for some extra traction. A piece of cardboard can also work. A car floor mat can also work in a pinch.

Photo: Michael Kraus/Shutterstock

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toilet paperJiri Hera/Shutterstock

Roll of Toilet Paper


You may laugh now, but you won’t be laughing if you ever find yourself stranded for a long period of time. Keep a roll of toilet paper in your glove compartment. It will also come in handy if you get a runny nose or need to clean up a small spill.

Photo: Jiri Hera/Shutterstock

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duct-tapeCoprid/Shutterstock

Duct Tape


What can’t you use duct tape for? A roll of duct tape kept in the car can be used as a quick bandage if you can’t find your first aid kit, you can wrap it around the tops of your boots to keep the snow out and you can use it to tape together a bunch of roadside debris (sticks, bags, etc.) to form a mat to provide traction under the tires if you’re stuck on snow or ice.

Photo: Coprid/Shutterstock