Created Tuesday 27 December 2022
This information is lifted from a thread on Reddit.
Car Winter Survival Kit Checklist
- Flashlight (and extra batteries)
- First Aid Kit
- Snow Shovel (a collapseable one is fine)
- Ice Scraper with brush
- Blankets/sleeping bag
- Non perishable food, such as granola bars, dried nuts, etc.
- Botled water
- Jumper cables
- Jumper pack
- Extra clothing - Hats, mittens, parkas, boots
- Sand or cat litter - traction aids
- Cell phone and charger
- Flares, triangles, or other bright objects
- Tow rope
- Full tank of gas
Additional suggestions from commenters:
- Glow sticks - a half dozen in the glovebox
- Candle in a metal can - can keep cabin temperature from becoming deadly cold
- 10-20 degree sleeping bag
- Hand warmers (Hot Hands)
- Basic trauma kit
- Toilet paper
- Plastic bags
Food: Making sure you get all three macronutrients — protein, carbohydrates and fat — can “help the body produce body heat and regulate its energy,” said Lauren Minchen, a New York-based registered dietitian and nutrition consultant. She recommended having snacks such as protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain pretzels and crackers.
Water: Drinking water is “essential for energy and mental stamina,” Minchen said. Before driving, store a couple of water bottles in the car; be careful not to leave them there long enough to freeze. According to Ready, a national public service preparedness campaign, you should opt for “one gallon per person per day for several days,” for drinking and hygiene.
Warm extra clothes: Scarves, mittens, socks and hats. If you’re not wearing the warmest shoes (say, sandals or Crocs), you might also want to throw in a pair of snow boots.
Blankets: When you can’t rely on your car’s heater to keep you warm, you can prevent hypothermia by having blankets to keep your body temperature up. Make sure to have enough for yourself and any other passengers.
Hand warmers, small candles and matches: Keep toasty when rationing fuel.
A flashlight with spare batteries: With daylight being much shorter during winter, there’s a good chance that you may find yourself stranded in the dark. If your car breaks down and there are no inside or outside lights, a flashlight can be an important tool.
Whistle, flares, red bandanna or bright cloth: You can signal for help with these items.
Phone charger: Whether you’re snowed in, you crash or your car breaks down — especially in a low-traffic area — a fully charged phone is a must. Opt for a cellphone adapter to plug into the lighter or, even better, a USB portable battery pack (charge it fully before departing.)
Shovel and cat litter: When your car gets stuck in the snow, digging it out might be the way to go. With a portable snow shovel, you can dig around each wheel. Sprinkling cat litter — or sand — can add traction to get things moving again.
Ice scraper: Snow and ice can impede visibility. Make sure you clear off every inch of your vehicle before hitting the road and after any storm.
Jumper cables: Cold weather can be hard on a car. If your battery fails, having your own set of jumper cables could save you an expensive tow.
Personal hygiene items: Taking care of hygiene inside a car is challenging, but you can keep moist towelettes, period products, garbage bags and plastic ties — to seal any waste — for sanitation. If you wear contacts, have lenses and solution ready. You may want to throw in a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste kit.
Medication: If you take prescription medication, have at least enough stored for a 72-hour emergency.
Supplies for pets, babies and children: If you’re traveling with animals and children, make sure you have enough supplies for their needs. Include pet food, diapers, infant formula, bottles, wipes and diaper rash cream. To keep small children entertained, stash paper, crayons, books and toys.
You’ll want to keep these items in a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to locate everything. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), your winter kit should be stored in an accessible place — such as a back seat or passenger compartment — in case the trunk gets jammed or frozen shut.
Take precautions before driving
Snow and ice mean ripe conditions for accidents to happen: Cars have less traction, batteries break down and visibility is reduced. The first thing to consider is whether it’s safe to be on the road — that is, check for weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. You can also sign up for your area’s warning system.
If you must drive, here are some suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
Don’t leave your house without your winter kit.
Use that ice scraper to make sure your vehicle is completely clear of ice or snow before starting the trip. Flying snow from cars causes crashes.
Let someone know where you’re going and what route you will take. If something happens, this person will know where to start a search.
Slow down. The road can be slick, and more than 5,000 fatalities occur on roadways each year due to weather.
If your car skids, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas and turn your wheels in the direction you want the front of the car to go. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the brakes on an ABS-equipped vehicle.
If you are having trouble seeing, pull over to the side of the road and stop your car until visibility improves. Turn off your lights, and use your parking brake when stopped to alert other drivers.