Although radar technology has increased quite rapidly over the past decade, weather can still be rather unpredictable—especially during the winter months. Snowstorms involving freezing rain and ice can materialize out of nowhere, leaving you stranded along the side of the road or at work.
One of the best ways to be prepared for the winter is to equip your car with a cold-weather toolkit filled with necessary items in case you get stuck in the snow. Below, you’ll find a list of 7 key items that can assist in getting you home safely during a winter storm.
#1: Ice Scraper/Snow Brush
One of the most important yet often neglected winter items is the ice scraper/snow brush. This 2-in-1 tool will come in handy for when you need to clean off your windshield to create better visibility. Use the brush to wipe away fresh snow during a mid-afternoon snowfall. The ice scraper can be used to chip away snow that has frozen overnight.
#2: Hand Warmers and Gloves
Having a nice pair of winter gloves to keep your hands warm as you scrape the ice or snow off your vehicle is a must. However, sometimes gloves just aren’t enough depending on how cold the temperature is. Pack a few hand warmers as well, just in case you need some added warmth.
#3: Rock Salt or Sand
Keep a small bag of rock salt or sand in the back of your car in case your tires get stuck in the snow. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of slats of wood to help give your vehicle some added traction in the snow after you coat the surrounding area with rock salt or sand. There is nothing worse than having your tires buried in the snow with no way of escape.
#4: Flashlight and Flares
You never know what time of the day you may get trapped in a snowstorm. Having a flashlight can certainly help you figure out what’s wrong if your car is stuck or the engine won’t start. It’s also a good idea to carry a few flares so that other drivers can see you if you’re stranded on the side of the road. Even during the daytime, the snow can severely affect visibility.
#5: A Small Shovel
Although an ice scraper can be used to dig through the snow, it’s not advised since it could easily break. Instead, make sure you pack a small shovel in case you need to dig your car out of the snow. Just remember to take it out of your trunk and put it in the backseat if you sense snow in the forecast. A shovel won’t do you any good buried in your trunk.
#6: A Large Warm Blanket
Hopefully, you’ll never need this. But just in case, pack a large warm blanket or two in the event that you get stranded on the side of the road and your car won’t start. Although you may be dressed warmly, if you happen to get stuck in the snow as the sun is setting, the temperature will drop quickly. A coat and stocking cap simply won’t be enough.
#7: Jumper Cables and Extra Battery
Although having an extra battery isn’t essential, since car batteries last for several years, it couldn’t hurt to keep one handy if you can afford it. More importantly, always make sure you have jumper cables to give your car a jump start in case the weather becomes too much. Since your car battery is easily affected by cold weather, being able to give it an added boost could get you back on your way more quickly.