Winter car safety is one of the areas where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Driving in winter can expose you to unpredictable conditions that include limited visibility, strong wind, and icy roads. As you prepare for wintry conditions, consider putting the following winter car safety items in your vehicle:
Bottled Water – No matter what happens when you are on the road this winter, you will need to stay hydrated. Be sure to keep a few bottles of purified water in your car. Another option would be to carry a small metal cup in your car so you can easily melt clean snow for drinking.
Food – It is always a good idea to have some emergency rations in your car, regardless of the time of year. Simply having a few granola bars can provide enough calories for an extended stay in your car.
Blanket – If you get stuck in your vehicle during winter, a warm blanket will become your best friend while you wait for help. Leaving the car running with the heater on may help for a while, but only until the gas tank is empty. If you are stuck in your car because of severe winter conditions, those same conditions will probably delay any type of rescue and you’ll be glad you have a blanket.
Warm Gloves & Hat – Winter wind and cold have the potential of causing frostbite and hypothermia. Keep yourself warm by carrying a warm hat and gloves in your car.
Flashlight – A flashlight will come in handy if you become stranded in the dark, especially if you must leave the car for any reason.
Tire Chains – Some areas have winter car safety laws that require drivers to carry tire chains in their car. Even if your area does not require it, it is a good idea to carry them anyway in case bad weather happens while you are on the road. Keep in mind that it’s much harder to put safety chains on after you are stuck, so plan ahead.
Cell Phone – No matter what situation you find yourself in, it is a good idea to keep a cell phone on hand to call for help. Another option is a closed band (CB) radio, but it may be a gamble as to whether or not someone will hear your calls for assistance.
Ice Scraper – Many accidents occur in winter because drivers have not thoroughly cleaned their car windows of snow and ice before getting onto the road. Using an ice scraper will ensure you are able to see any obstacles in your path. Be sure to clean off all windows for a good 360-degree view.
Small Shovel – A shovel will come in handy if your vehicle slides into a ditch or snow bank. You can use the shovel to remove snow from around the vehicle frame and tires, helping to free your vehicle.
Pocket Heaters – Any source of heat will be welcome if you are stranded in cold weather. Consider storing some pocket heaters in your vehicle to help keep you warm in an emergency. Remember that the key to survival in cold weather is staying warm.