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We’ve all heard the stories of the family traveling to grandma’s and never getting there. Instead, they hit a major winter storm, they lose control of the car and end up in a ravine, injured with no food, water or warmth. Maybe they’re found alive and maybe they’re not.
The one thing that will increase your chance of surviving in these circumstances is an emergency car kit.
If you’re planning on traveling with your family over the holiday’s or anytime this winter, I encourage you to create a winter weather emergency car `kit. It could mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.
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23 Must Haves In Your Winter Weather Emergency Car Kit
A car emergency kit is one of those things that you don’t think much about until it’s too late. Then you’ll wish you didn’t leave home without one.
If you’re reading this thinking, “Well, I have an AAA membership and my car is in good shape.” Think again.
Breakdowns, flat tires, unexpected winter weather, does happen, and sometimes you’re not so lucky to be in a well-lit area, with great phone reception and a tow truck near by. Sometimes you’re in the middle of nowhere.
I remember a few years ago, my mother and I were heading home after dropping off my daughter at the University of Vermont. In typical winter fashion as we were crossing over the mountains it began to snow really hard.
It was snowing so badly I could barely see in front of me. My mother started saying the rosary, and I began to panic at the thought of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road. Luckily, the snow only lasted long enough for us to get on the other side of the mountain. But I’ve never forgotten that night. That’s why my car kit is fully stocked and in the trunk of my car.
Remember, even if your car appears in good working order, unexpected things can happen. And the farther away from home, the more remote the area and the more inclement the weather, the more likely the contents of a car emergency kit will come in handy. The car kit is designed to help you survive until help arrives.
The most comprehensive prepackaged car emergency kit I found is the All-In-One Emergency Car Kit marketed by Survival-supply.com for $69.95.
There are other kits available like the AAA (4390AAA) 66-Piece Severe Weather Road Kit.
Even with a prepackaged kit, you’ll need to add a few things to it, and it might be more economical just to create your own. Either way, here’s what should be included in your winter weather car survival kit.
Drinkable water is critical. Most people can survive days without food, but your body will quickly dehydrate without water, leading to organ failure and death. We take water for granted when things are normal, but in an emergency, it becomes essential and critical to have water on hand. Water is also useful for sanitation, washing cuts and wounds and if your car overheats. Because you’ll have limited space in your vehicle, you’ll want to store small packets of water.
Food is the next item you’ll want to store in your emergency car kit. If you are miles from a town or store you’ll likely need food for energy. It is very difficult to keep food in your car because it is exposed to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and the food is likely to spoil. The best thing to store in your car is high-calorie food bars.
Read: How To Prepare For Severe Weather
Next up is warmth. In the dead of winter, warmth is essential. If you get stranded on a desolate road or stuck in a snowstorm, you will be glad you have a source of warmth in your car. There are several options: warm packs, wool blankets, emergency bags, and emergency blankets. Also, for shelter from the rain, include a poncho or other rain gear.
Warm packs are nice for quick heat. You can put them in your pockets, shoes, and gloves to stay warm.
Get a wool blend blanket which will provide both warmth, softness, washability, and durability.
Emergency blankets and bags are lightweight and fold to pocket size. They’re made of a reflective material which reflects up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help keep you warm.
A poncho is nice if you are in rain or other bad weather and need to go outside to change a tire or do other work on the car.
OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS TO KEEP IN YOUR EMERGENCY CAR KIT
If possible, keep these items in a waterproof container by having these items organized and easily accessible.
1. Properly charged cell phone
2. First aid kit
3. Fire extinguisher
4. Three reflective warning triangles
5. Tire gauge
6. Foam tire sealant
7. Jumper cables
8. Emergency flashlight (requires no batteries)
11. Duct tape
12. Tow strap or tow rope (capable of towing up to 6000lbs.)
13. Tool kit (car tools, knife, and misc tools to turn off utilities) or multipurpose utility knife
14. Tire chains
16. Kitty litter
17. Ice scraper
19. Car hammer – Auto Safety Seatbelt Cutter Glass Window Punch Breaker
Remember, being prepared could mean the difference between life and death if you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no access to cell phone reception or help. These emergency items kept in your car could be just the lifesaver you need.
Take the time this fall to put together an emergency car kit for each family member. Make sure everyone knows how to use all the equipment in the kit.
Better safe than sorry – so be prepared!