How to Make a Winter Car Emergency Kit at Home

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Nov 26, 2016

Don't get stuck out in the cold! Prepare a winter car emergency kit you can keep in your vehicle during the icy months.


Imagine you're driving home from work during a winter storm. You've made it fifteen minutes down the road when suddenly, your car begins to drift on the slippery pavement. You try to steer out of the skid, but it's too late, and you slide sideways into a tree. No one else is around, and your cell phone is out of service. Good thing you have that winter car emergency kit in the trunk.

If you live in one of the colder states, you're no stranger to the hazardous conditions inclement weather can cause. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that each year, twenty-four percent of weather-related crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy roadways. While no one plans to get into an accident, you can have a plan in case one occurs. That's where a winter car emergency kit comes in. If you keep one in your car during the winter months, you ensure that if you do get into an accident, you'll have what you need to cope.

The Basics

Much of your winter car emergency kit should already be in your vehicle for everyday emergencies:

First-aid kit 
Hopefully it doesn't come down to this, but should you or a passenger be injured, a first-aid kit is essential to treating wounds and abrasions.

A map
GPS systems have all but made us forget maps, but if you end up in the cold without a connection, you'll be thankful for the paper map in the glove box, no matter how difficult it may be to fold back up.

Road triangles 
Especially in a snowstorm, road triangles help other motorists see you and avoid hitting you or your vehicle. Two or three road triangles is ideal, but even just one will help tremendously. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to use.

Spare tire and jack
Make sure that spare is properly inflated and your jack is in good working order.

Jumper cables
Cold weather can wreak havoc on a car battery. Be sure to keep jumper cables handy in your winter car emergency kit.


Additional Items for Winter

Along with snow, sleet, and ice, winter brings with it a whole other set of potential hazards during an accident or breakdown. There's the danger of hypothermia, ice collecting on the windows, getting stuck in a snowbank, vehicle fluids freezing, or a long, snowy walk back to town. However, all of these risks can be mitigated with the proper preparation and a few extra supplies:

Blankets are a must-have during the winter months. You won't be able to do much about being stranded if you can't stay warm. Keep one in the trunk and one under the driver's seat in case either of them becomes inaccessible.

An ice scraper
In severe conditions, ice can build up on windows and windshields, which may hinder your recovery. A snow brush with an ice scraper will help to maintain maximum visibility from the side of the road. In a pinch, your driver's license or a credit card can double as an ice scraper, but the real thing works much better.

Winter boots
Even an old pair of winter boots can come in handy should you have to walk through the elements for help. You'll probably find you can leave these in your vehicle year-round, but they are especially useful to have from November to March.

A bag of sand or cat litter
Should you merely be stuck in a snowdrift, a bag of sand will help you gain traction. Pour a generous amount under and in front of each tire. You can also use your floor mats. Place a mat in as far under the drive wheels as you can for traction to get out of slippery spot.

A shovel 
When the snow is coming down hard, you can get snowed in more quickly than you'd expect. Be prepared to dig yourself to freedom.

Cell phone adapter 
If you have cellular service when you're stranded, use an adapter to make sure you have enough battery power on your phone to stay in touch with rescue personnel.


Safety First

The most important thing to remember during any auto accident is to stay safe. In the winter, that will mean staying warm and hydrated. It's a good idea to keep blankets and bottles of water in your vehicle all year round, just in case. If you do break down or get into an accident, keep your eyes open for other motorists, especially during a storm when visibility is reduced. 

Hopefully you'll never have to deal with a winter accident or breakdown, but if you do, you'll feel a lot better knowing you have your winter car emergency repair kit.


Expecting a lot of snow this winter? Contact us today to see what coverage options will save you money in case of an accident.



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