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It’s that time of year again, when temperatures are dropping and hazardous winter weather could leave you stranded. To avoid a potential disaster, assemble a winter emergency kit and keep it handy, so you can get back on the road… or at least make the time you spend waiting for help safer and more comfortable.
Winter car emergency kits typically include:
- Battery booster cables, in case you wind up with a dead battery or need to help someone else jumpstart one. A portable jump starter is easy to use and works well but needs to be kept charged to work on the road.
- Ice scraper.A sturdy snow brush/scraper combo is recommended for clearing snow from your car. It may even be illegal to NOT clear your car of ALL snow before driving.
- Portable shovel.Handy for digging out a car buried by plows, a portable shovel can also help clear space around a tailpipe if you are going to be idling for any length of time, to prevent fumes from entering your car. Also, keep a bag of sand or kitty litter in your trunk to help boost traction.
Essential items if you’re stranded:
- Flashlight (and backup batteries)
- Signaling cones to warn oncoming cars of your presence
- Roadside triangles
- A reflective safety vest
- Basic first-aid kit
- Cell phone charger (make sure to keep it charged)
- A blanket
- A rain poncho
- Wipes and rags
- Pair of boots
- A warm hat
Other items that can come in handy, depending on your needs and skills:
- Tow strap, in case you need to be pulled out of a ditch. You need to know how much weight the strap can tow and how and where to appropriately tether it to your car. Read your car’s owner’s manual for more info.
- Fire extinguisher(intended for automotive use) for fighting small fires only. If your car is on fire, back off and wait for emergency help.
- Water and long-lasting food.Think granola and protein bars. Bottled water usually lasts for six months before it needs to be replaced.
- Items for handling a flat tire.A can of tire sealant can temporarily fix a puncture, although these products may not work well in extreme cold (check the directions), nor are they intended for large holes or sidewall damage. Use a spare tire if possible or call roadside assistance for a tow.
A well-stocked emergency kit can help you and your passengers survive unexpected challenges. You can’t prepare for every possibility, but kits like these can help you solve problems, reach out for assistance, and keep occupants safe.
Source: Consumer Reports