No matter where you make yourself at home, the winter months are sure to make driving just a bit more hazardous. This is especially true for those who live in northern or elevated states, where snow, ice and sleet are simply facts of life during these chilly days and nights. These weather conditions are, unfortunately, typically accompanied by a spike in accidents, instances of drivers becoming stranded and other dangerous situations that you don’t want to find yourself in.
Aside from practicing and taking things slow during winter conditions, one of the best ways to ensure you’re safe on the road during even the coldest winter expedition is building a winter emergency car kit to keep inside your vehicle at all times. This is a simple, proactive move that could literally save your life one day, and something that everyone can do on even the tightest budget.
The first things that you’ll want to include in your winter driving kit are tools that make driving easier. This should ideally include just a couple of tools: a scraper for your windshield and windows so you can better see the road ahead while you’re on the move, and perhaps a set of snow chains in case the snow starts coming down when you least expect it. Both of these additions help to prepare your car for a chilly, icy drive, and reduce the chances of an accident occurring.
Furthermore, if you don’t already have a set of jumper cables in your car or truck, winter would be the ideal time to get them. Cold weather has the ability to sap the life right out of your car’s battery, and you’re much more likely to be stranded with a dead battery during winter months. Having jumper cables in your winter emergency kit helps to reduce the chances of this occurring.
Whether you’re in an accident and your car can’t get back on the road or you’re stranded in cold weather for another reason, low temperatures are perhaps the deadliest issue you could face during the winter months. Therefore, always keep a few key items in your winter emergency car kit to stave off the cold and protect yourself from hypothermia while you wait for assistance. This should include:
- Hand warmers
- Warm clothing
Really, any type of warm clothing you happen to have on hand when building your kit is a great addition and can serve to keep you safe and warm.
Other things to add to your emergency car kit list include bottled water and non-perishable food items. This might seem a bit extreme, but as previously stated, when dealing with winter weather conditions you may not be able to receive the help you need right away if you’re involved in an accident or stranded outdoors. Having bottled water on hand helps to prevent dehydration, and granola bars and canned goods with easy pull-tops provide easy access to proper nutrition while you wait out the storm that’s holding you back.
Here in Phoenix where winters tend to be on the mild side, you may believe that winter car kits simply aren’t applicable to you. However, that’s incorrect. Just because the area may not receive snow or ice during cold months, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold enough at night to cause frostbite or hypothermia. If you happen to spend too much time exposed to the chill, it’s a threat that’s likelier than you may think. A dead battery or other car issues could leave you stranded and in need of winter supplies, food and water. In fact, there are a whole host of issues that could potentially occur year-round that would merit the use of the simple emergency supplies noted in this list.
Having an emergency car kit on hand might seem a bit frivolous at first, but it’s truly a responsible and proactive way to fight off the elements if you ever happen to become stranded for any reason. Whether you’re regularly braving rough weather up in northern Arizona or just have to deal with a mild chill in the valley, it’s always best to be prepared when it comes to driving and survival preparation. In addition to your winter emergency kit, remember to have a Sun Devil Auto technician inspect your car before you go on any long trips to prevent a breakdown.