Updating Your Emergency Roadside Kit for Winter

Winter brings special considerations while driving. Not only is it important to take things a little more gently on the roads, but it’s also important to be ready for a roadside emergency. Sitting in our warm cars, it can be difficult to fully comprehend the dangers that winter poses until you’re stranded in a ditch all by yourself, in a dead car, in the middle of winter. Outside the safety of your vehicle, freezing temperatures and deep snow drifts can quickly turn an inconvenient situation into a deadly one, especially if it’s nighttime.

My dad was great about impressing the importance of having a roadside emergency kit for winter on me and my brothers and sisters. Though everyone should be prepared, drivers who regularly travel on highways should be extra sure to have a kit. Having a kit not only allows you to keep you and your family safe, but also keeps you prepared to stop and be a good samaritan.

  • Blankets. Buy several warm blankets. Warm sleeping bags are also a good option. Once your car dies, it will quickly lose heat, so you’ll need extra protection to keep your passengers warm.
  • Boots. Having an extra pair of boots in your trunk will come in handy if you need to walk through snow to safety or dig your car out.
  • Hand warmers. Though cheap, they can help to stave off serious personal injury.
  • A metal shovel. In case you or someone else is stuck in a ditch, a shovel becomes a vital tool in digging out.
  • Sand or kitty litter. Use these for traction when trying to drive your way out of a ditch, or on any icy surface.
  • Cellphone charger. Have a charger that you can plug into one of your car’s outlets. A phone call is the fastest way to get help to you or somebody else on the road.
  • Flashlight and batteries. Many roadside emergencies happen at night, so visibility is important. Besides helping you see, they can also help you flag down other drivers. Headlamps are a great option because they keep your hands free to do work.
  • Towing chain or strap. In case you need extra help getting out of a ditch, or if you’re the one lending a hand, having a rated towing chain or strap on hand will make an immense difference.

December 12, 2012 by Jamie Rettig