Question: I have my cell phone and there are tow trucks everywhere, why do I need a winter kit in my vehicle?
Answer: Weather changes fast and heavy snow/ice may yield to cellphone coverage issues, other accidents on the road may lead to decreased tow truck drivers available quickly and you may be too far away to be reached in a short amount of time.
Here's a quick winter prep kit checklist of some basics you can keep in your car to prepare for the winter. This is especially important for those that travel and want to be prepared for any emergencies that may arise.
Car Kit Items:
1) Tire pressure gauge As the temperatures drop, your tires will lose air pressure and to keep yourself from running on too low of tire pressure, having a gauge in your glovebox is a great way to keep an eye on it. Newer vehicles have sensors but even if your vehicle is equipped with them, those sensors can go bad eventually so you don't want to rely solely on your sensors.
2) Ice Scraper and Snow Brush- Not only is cleaning the ice off of your windshield and windows important for visibility and the snow off of your car, it's important for other drivers and their safety. Flying snow and ice creates a huge danger for yourself and other drivers as it limits visibility and it can damage your vehicle or the vehicles on the road behind you. Keeping an extra bottle of washer fluid in your vehicle will help with maintaining your visibility as well.
3) Emergency Blankets- You can't count on having a warm, running vehicle in the event of an emergency. There are small, pre packaged emergency blankets that you can carry that won't take up too much room while traveling but also offer that added protection to everyone in the vehicle.
4) Shovel-There are collapsible or smaller/easy to transport shovels for vehicles that can help you get out of a ditch (hopefully) if you do happen to slide a little off track.
5) Jumper Cables or a portable jump pack-this should always be in your vehicle, but especially during the cold/winter months.
6) First aid kit You can grab a basic first aid kit at pretty much any store. Like many items on the list, this is something you should keep all year in your vehicle.
7) Bottled Water and snacks
9) Phone Charger
10) Medication-Bring extra medication that you need, especially traveling away from home (even if you only intend on being gone for a day or two). Getting stranded without enough could be very serious and while we hope to not get stranded, you have to prepare for those difficult situations in case they do arise.
11) Spare Tire and equipment necessary to change your tire on the side of the road
12) Emergency Distress Kit - Road flares, fire starter (often sold in stores as a kit) and if it doesn't include a tool to break the windows if submerged, add one
13) Warm clothes-extra jackets, sweaters, gloves and hats in case you get stranded without a running vehicle while waiting for assistance
14) Traction Assistance- Keeping something like kitty litter in your vehicle can help you in a situation regain traction and get yourself out of a slippery situation or the need to have a tow truck come pull you out of a small predicament.
*15) Tire Chains -Depending on where you live, you may need tire chains. Not every state allows you to have studded tires or tire chains. If you are new to an area that does deal with winter weather, make sure you check with your local DMV or even local repair shops to find out what may be required in your area.
16) Entertainment-While this is most definitely not a critical item for the list, it's something to keep in mind while doing some traveling. If you are bringing kids along and you get stranded on the side of the road for a few hours, it would be nice to have something to keep them entertained and distracted while waiting for help.
This list is not intended to be exclusive, add any items you need. We hope you all have safe travels and don't end up needing your emergency kit but we hope these help get you more prepared for any possible situations that can occur.