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21 Items to Put In Your Car Emergency Kit for Winter

January 18, 2019

3 min read

Pack these 21 items to stay safe in the harshest conditions.

Wish lists and travel plans dominated your thoughts in November and December. Did the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you forget a few things?

Before you finally sit back and relax, think about the cold temperatures and slick surfaces. What will you do if you’re on the road when a blizzard rolls through?

Follow our game plan, and pick up these 21 items to put in your car emergency kit for winter.

21 Items for Your Winter Emergency Kit

  1. Plastic Tote or Large Duffel Bag
  2. First Aid Kit
  3. Synthetic gloves
  4. Blanket
  5. Hats
  6. Gloves
  7. Thick jackets
  8. Rain ponchos (for sleet)
  9. Snacks
  10. Bottled Water
  11. Cat Litter or Sand
  12. Small Shovel
  13. Tarp
  14. Tow Straps
  15. Tire Pressure Gauge
  16. Visibility
  17. Flashlight
  18. Emergency Reflectors
  19. Window Scraper With Brush
  20. Backup Power
  21. A Car Accident Checklist

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More Details & Advice

Storage

Plastic Tote or Large Duffel Bag

Store your emergency kit items in a contained space so they don’t scatter into the far reaches of your trunk.

Treatment

First Aid Kit

Whether you pack your own first aid kit or buy one from a retailer, make sure it includes these items:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antibiotics
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Digital thermometer
  • Duct tape
  • An EpiPen
  • Gauze pads
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A needle
  • Pain relief pills
  • Safety pins
  • Saline solution
  • Scissors
  • Synthetic gloves

Pack kid versions of the medications listed above if you have young children.

Warmth

Your vehicle might retain heat well, but the cold will work its way in if you have to turn off the engine. When you’re on a long trip or hauling passengers, you’ll need multiples of the following items:

  • Blankets
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Thick jackets
  • Rain ponchos (for sleet)

Nourishment

A winter storm could leave you stranded on the side of the road for hours. Stay full with non-perishable, calorie-dense snacks like trail mix and granola bars.

Take bottled water, too, and wrap it in blankets to lower the likelihood of freezing.

Traction

These items will help you break free of ice, slush, and snow.

Cat Litter or Sand
Cat litter and sand absorb moisture, and their grittiness gives your tires traction. If you opt for cat litter, buy the non-clumping kind. The clumping version turns into sticky blobs that won’t help you.

Small Shovel
Use this to dig around buried tires.

Tarp
You don’t want slush to seep into your clothes. Put a tarp down to stay dry when you’re changing a flat tire.

Tow Straps
You might need a vehicle to pull your car out if the shovel and cat litter (or sand) don’t do the trick. When a tow truck can’t make it to you, a friend or Good Samaritan might be able to pull you out in a pinch.


Tire Pressure Gauge
Underinflated tires are more likely to skid on slick surfaces. Check your tires every month to make sure they’re properly inflated.

Visibility

Flashlight
It’s tough to change a tire when you can’t see what you’re doing, and you won’t want to walk toward help without a light source.

Emergency Reflectors
Place these shiny triangles 10, 100, and 200 feet behind the side of the vehicle that’s closest to the road. These markers will signal approaching vehicles to slow down.

Window Scraper With Brush
When slush and ice accumulate on your car windows, you need to crank the defrost and start scraping.

Backup Power

If your flashlight, cell phone, or car battery run out of juice, you’ll need:

  • Batteries for the flashlight
  • A cell phone charger
  • Jumper cables or a jump starter

A Car Accident Checklist

If you get in an accident with multiple vehicles, you should collect information from every driver involved. Put the following list in your emergency kit, glovebox, or on Google Drive as a spreadsheet:

  • Date of accident:
  • Time of accident:
  • Location (street/city/state):
  • Responding police officer's name and badge number:
  • Driver's name:
  • Driver's license state and number:
  • Driver's address (street, city, state, zip):
  • Driver's phone number:
  • Insurance company:
  • Vehicle plate number and state:
  • Year, make, and model of vehicle:
  • Names and contact information of passengers (if any):
  • Names and contact information of witnesses (if any):

More Winter Weather Protection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers winter weather checklists for:

  • Communication
  • Cooking and lighting
  • Food and safety
  • Heating
  • Water

We hope you’ll never have to deal with an accident or breakdown, but if you do, you’ll feel a lot better knowing you have a winter car emergency kit.

Expecting sleet, ice, and snow? Contact Sauk Valley Insurance today to make sure your vehicle is covered through the harshest conditions.