Southern Ontario hasn’t seen a real blast of winter weather yet this season. But the forecast for this weekend looks like a wake-up call for all us who wondered if we’d get through without a major winter storm to hamper our winter driving.
Winter driving can be hazardous, and to be prepared for any situation on the road, a winter car kit is a must in every vehicle. Putting together a well-stocked winter car kit is quick and simple and can be easily stored in a waterproof tub or bag so it will be ready for you whenever you need it.
Winter Emergency Car Kit
In addition to your usual winter car supplies, like extra windshield wiper fluid and a brush to remove snow from your car, your winter car kit should include:
- A first aid kit. Your first aid kit should include items like sterile gauze pads (both small and large), adhesive tape, bandages, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, an ice pack, and anti-bacterial wipes.
- Non-perishable food and water. Energy bars are a good choice as they don’t take up much space. If you choose canned food, be sure to pack a manual can opener as well.
- Blankets, extra clothes and a change of footwear. Keep at least one thermal blanket in your kit, as well as a pair of socks, gloves and even a change of clothing if you have space. If you’re trying to dig out of the snow, wet clothes are a likely outcome, and a dry change will keep you warmer.
- A shovel and cat litter or sand. A folding camp shovel can help you dig out of a snow bank, while a bag of cat litter will act to provide traction on ice if your tires are spinning. You can also use a bag of sand for the same purpose.
- A flashlight and batteries. Keep a good flashlight and an extra set of batteries in the winter car kit in case of a problem at night.
- Road flares. Flares can help other motorists see you if you’re on the side of the road, especially during a winter storm. You should set them out on the road at enough of a distance from your location that other cars will have time to slow before reaching your car.
- Heat packets. Small packets that heat up automatically without requiring a power source can help to keep hands and feet warm, especially if you can’t start the car for heat.
- An emergency phone battery charger. These special emergency chargers can give you enough power to make a phone call if needed when your battery is dead and you can’t charge it in the car.
- Waterproof matches and candles. Keep some emergency candles as well as a box of matches in the car kit for times when electronic sources of light fail. Emergency candles are long burning and can also be used as a source of heat. Make sure you’ve got something to hold the candle that isn’t flammable or will get too hot to touch.
- A Swiss Army Knife. A Swiss Army Knife, with all of its various gadgets, can come in handy if stranded on the side of the road.
- Jumper cables and a tow chain or rope. If your car won’t start, or if you hit a patch of ice and end up in a ditch, these will ensure you’ve got the tools necessary when help arrives to get out of a jam quicker.
Keeping your car kit stocked
It’s a good idea to check your car kit over at the beginning of every winter season and make sure everything is in good working order. Replace any items that show signs of wear or food items that are expired, and, be sure to replace any items that are used in an emergency right away, so that they’ll be there should you need them again.
Find the Plan to Cover Your Car
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