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Vehicle Winter Emergency Kits: What to Include

Nov 28th, 2023

Vehicle Winter Emergency Kits

As winter approaches, we naturally start thinking about driving in inclement weather and dangerous road conditions–snow, slush, “black ice,” etc. Perhaps you’ve taken steps to keep your vehicle safe–but what do you have in the car to keep yourself and your passengers safe? If your car gets stuck in snow or won’t start, do you have what you need to hold out until help arrives?

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for these uncertainties is by having a vehicle winter emergency kit. Let’s talk about why this is an essential part of winter preparedness and what to include in your kit.


Why You Need an Emergency Kit

Winter driving can be unpredictable, with conditions ranging from mildly inconvenient to downright hazardous. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 1700 people are killed and more than 130,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually. Conscientious drivers will minimize these risks by “winterizing” their vehicles (e.g., snow tires, preventative maintenance). But many drivers overlook that getting stranded in wintry weather (even with thoroughly “winterized” vehicles) can be just as dangerous as an accident. In extreme weather conditions, it can get frigid very quickly in a stalled or stuck vehicle, and it can take longer than expected for help to arrive. A well-stocked winter emergency kit can make all the difference between a minor inconvenience and a life-threatening situation.


Essential Items for Your Vehicle Winter Emergency Kit

A well-stocked winter emergency kit can quite literally be a lifesaver. Here are some essential items you should include:

  • Food and Water: Pack non-perishable snacks and bottled water to keep energy levels up.
  • First Aid Kit: This should include band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, medical tape, and other basic supplies.
  • Blankets and Warm Clothing: Thermal blankets, gloves, hats, and scarves can help keep you warm if you’re stranded in cold weather.
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries: These are crucial for visibility if your car breaks down at night.
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush: These tools will help you keep your windows clear and improve visibility.
  • Jumper Cables: Battery issues are common in winter, so these are a must-have.
  • Road Flares or Reflective Triangle: These can signal distress and help other drivers see your vehicle so they can stop to help–or at least avoid hitting your car in the meantime.
  • Shovel: A compact shovel can help you dig out if your car gets stuck in the snow.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid: Extra fluid can help clear salt and grime from your windshield.
  • Bag of Sand or Cat Litter: This can provide tire traction if you get stuck in the snow.
  • Basic Tools: A multi-tool or Swiss army knife can be handy in many situations.

A vehicle winter emergency kit won’t prevent accidents. However, it will help you be prepared for a wide range of eventualities, including being stuck in wintry conditions. If you are injured in a winter accident due to someone else’s negligence, our personal injury attorneys can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.