The cold winter months are approaching quickly and your car isn’t looking forward to those chilly commutes any more than you are. There are things you can do to prepare you both for another winter season.
If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t experience extreme weather throughout the year, it won’t occur to you to be prepared. However, if you live anywhere that deals with even moderate temperature changes, it’s necessary to be ready.
Nothing is worse than breaking down on the side of the road and being without resources to deal with that emergency. As a driver, you need to know what items are vital to carry with you. Some of these items you will need year-round but a few are specific for extreme weather conditions.
As a responsible driver, you need to be prepared for every season, and not just in the winter months. If you get stuck on the road without vital necessities in the winter, this can be fatal.
What Winter Car Essentials Will You Need?
When determining what winter car essentials you need, your location matters. In south Florida, you may never find yourself in need of tire chains. If you live in Chicago, Illinois, passenger vehicles are not allowed to use tire chains. When driving through the switchbacks of the Coastal Mountain range in Oregon, however, tire chains will be crucial to carry with you if it starts to snow.
Flash floods, freak thunderstorms, sudden and rapid snowfall, black ice, and any other conditions you could encounter, you need to be prepared for.
10 Things to Keep in Your Car This Winter
When planning for severe weather, mechanics and auto experts agree there are specific items you’re going to need. Here are the top ten things to keep in your car during the cold winter months.
And remember, if you chose to sell or junk your car for cash, you need to remove these items from your vehicle beforehand.
In the winter, it gets dark early. If your car breaks down at night, a flashlight can help you out a lot. It can be used to signal as cars pass and give you light if you need to look under the hood or change a tire. And if you have to walk anywhere, you will be very grateful to have this one.
2. First Aid Kit
Like a Swiss army knife, your first aid kit should be fully equipped. You can buy one or make one yourself.
According to the Red Cross, you need bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, gauze, antibiotic cream, and any medications you take.
There is a reason your car is equipped with a glove box. That handy space below the dash on the passenger side was installed for a reason - it’s in the name.
If you get stuck on the side of the road when the temperature outside drops, staying warm is a matter of survival. Gloves will keep your hands warm and prevent frostbite.
4. Hazard Triangles or LED Flashers
When driving in a winter storm, reduced visibility is always a concern, regardless of the time of day. Reflector, flashers, and hazard triangles will help you be seen, making other drivers aware that you are there. This will also make it easier for emergency vehicles to find you.
5. Jumper Cables
The cold weather can be really hard on your car’s battery. If the temperature outside is near freezing, your battery can lose 35% of its strength. In temperatures below zero, this increases to 60%. Jumper cables can keep your car running if your battery dies.
6. Bag of Sand or Kitty Litter
Kitty litter or bags of sand serve more than one purpose when driving in snowy conditions. If you drive a car with a rear-wheel drive train, the added weight in your trunk will add much-needed traction.
Another benefit of having kitty litter or bags of sand in your car is that you can place these grainy particles around your tires if they get stuck in the snow or ice.
7. Ice Scraper and Shovel
These are two vital tools if you need to dig your car out after a heavy snowfall. When purchasing an ice scraper, do make sure that you buy a sturdy one. You want it to be durable enough to handle the freezing temperatures. A cheap ice scraper will break right when you need it the most.
8. Portable Phone Charger/Battery
Staying connected when you face a road-side emergency is the best way to be safe. You will need your phone to contact assistance. Or to let loved ones know that you are okay. In order to keep your device charged, keep a charger with you whenever your travel, regardless of the weather.
9. Snacks & Water
If you find yourself stranded for any length of time, carrying water and other non-perishable foods is another way you may save your own life. Chances are, you are not going to be stuck long enough to starve, but in a situation where you find yourself stranded, you will be grateful for these provisions.
10. Blankets and Cold-Weather Clothing
During the winter, place an old sweatshirt, long boots, socks, and thick pants along with a thick blanket in the trunk of your car. An extra pair of gloves and a hat or stalking cap are a few additional articles to consider keeping with you. This helps keep you warm and comfortable, and in the worst case, prevent frostbite.