What to pack in a winter weather emergency car kit

January 28, 2019

After home and work, the next most common place people spend their time is in their vehicles. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says the average American spends 17,600 minutes driving each year.

Because they spend so much time behind the wheel, drivers need to be prepared for breakdowns. Packing an emergency kit in the car can help people make the best of such situations.

A car emergency kit can help drivers get back on the road promptly. Without such kits, drivers may be stranded for hours after a breakdown. Emergency kits also come in handy during weather-related events that can sideline cars until roads become passable. Getting caught in a vehicle during a snowstorm and failing to have the proper gear can be a life-threatening scenario under extreme conditions.

It is always wise to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Homeland Security note that these key items should always be included in a car emergency kit.

durable bags or crates to store supplies

complete first aid kit

small fire extinguisher

jumper cables

rain ponchos

plastic tarp

flashlights and extra batteries

bottled water

small cache of nonperishable foods

wrench and pliers

local maps


duct tape

multipurpose tool

ice scraper

automotive fluids

blankets/warm clothing

cat litter for slick roads

tire-changing equipment

spare tire

road flares or caution reflectors

empty, refillable gas canister

cash for gas

phone charger cable

Being prepared can make a difference when vehicles are sidelined. In addition to an emergency kit, cars and trucks should be regularly maintained to prevent breakdowns. This includes ensuring all fluids are at proper levels, filters are changed, batteries are in good working order, and tires are inflated correctly. Investing in a roadside assistance service also can help get drivers back on the road quickly.

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