12 Must-Have Winter Emergency Car Kit Items

A snow-covered landscape may be a beautiful sight, but icy roads, strong winds and snowdrifts can make winter driving treacherous. It’s wise to have an emergency kit in your car in case it gets stuck or breaks down. Here are some items it should contain:

1. Ice scraper or snow brush

Poor visibility can make driving dangerous. Remove ice and snow from your all your windows.

2. Windshield washer fluid

Since you may use more windshield washer fluid on snowy and icy days, keep your fluid reservoir full and carry an extra jug of winter-rated fluid in your trunk.

3. Foldable shovel

Stuck in the snow? It’s smart to keep a small shovel in your trunk to help dig your wheels out.

4. Sand, salt, or cat litter

Keep a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk. Throw several handfuls under spinning tires for better traction on snow or ice.

5. Jumper cables

Car batteries take a beating in the winter, so carry jumper cables. Be sure to read directions about how to connect them to a working vehicle.

6. Flares or reflective triangles

You want to be seen if your car breaks down or is stuck. Emergency flashing lights, flares and reflective triangles can alert oncoming traffic of your plight.

7. Flashlight and batteries

Always carry a flashlight and fresh batteries. It helps you to see and be seen by other drivers.

8. Tow rope

A tow rope of proper strength can be used to pull your vehicle out by another. Check your car’s owners manual for how and where to attach the rope and how to proceed.

9. Cell phone and charger

Be sure your cell phone is fully charged or you have a phone charger in your car. Or consider having a backup phone to contact a towing service or emergency personnel.

10. First-aid kit

A first-aid kit can save your life in an emergency. Consider purchasing a pre-stocked kit or make sure your DIY version contains bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, antiseptic, scissors, thermometer, safety pins, tweezers and hand sanitizer.

11. Blankets and hand warmers

Keep a warm blanket, sleeping bag or metallic “space blanket” in your car to help retain body heat and keep you warm if you’re stranded. Hand warmers and an extra pair of gloves are smart ideas, as well.

12. Bottled water

A person can live for days without food, but our bodies need water. Avoid dehydration by stashing several bottles of water in your trunk.

If you live where snowfall is common, a winter emergency car kit is essential, but take precautions to avoid getting into an emergency situation. Have your mechanic give your car a bumper-to-bumper once-over to ensure it’s ready for winter driving.