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How to Make a Winter Survival Kit for Vehicles

Updated on March 16, 2017

In many parts of the U.S., wintertime driving can be treacherous at times—particularly during occasional heavy snowstorm. With regard to this, it would take very little in the way of a change in circumstances to turn a simple drive on a snow-covered road into a potential crisis situation. To confront this possibility, it is highly advisable that drivers in snow-prone regions to be prepared for snow-related emergencies involving cars and other vehicles.

Every vehicle-owner should carry (or build) a “Winter Survival Kit.” This survival kit is a collection of anticipated supplies that may be used in helping to lessen the effects of a winter-related vehicle crisis. This collection of items could save a life. The suggested items include:

  • A shovel. A shovel can be used to help dig a stranded vehicle out of snow drifts and snow banks in the event of a slide-off.
  • A windshield scraper and/or small broom. These items can be used to remove excessive snow and ice from a vehicle’s windows.
  • A flashlight (with extra batteries). An alternative source of light might be needed in the event that a car stalls at night.
  • A battery-powered (or hand-crank-powered) radio. This can be used to gather vital news and weather-related information in the event that a vehicle stalls. These items can further be used to help preserve the battery power of a stranded or stalled vehicle, should that be an issue.
  • Water. Extra bottles of water, preferably in an insulated container will help drivers and passengers avoid dehydration should a vehicle becomes stalled and/or stranded.
  • Dry snack foods. Ready-to-consume dry snack foods such as energy bars and sealed crackers can provide an emergency supply of nourishment if a vehicle’s occupants become stranded for an extended period of time. It is preferable that foods that require no cooking or other types of preparation.
  • Extra blankets, hats, socks and mittens. These items can provide an extra layer of protection in the event that the vehicle becomes stalled, and the occupants stranded away from home. Extra clothing and blankets can helps stranded motorists stay warm if the engine stalls out. It is also good idea to pack a sleeping bag for extra warmth in the event of an extended period of time.
  • First-aid kit. Extra necessary medications. In the unfortunate event that a medical emergency compounds a vehicle (and its occupants) being stranded, a first-aid kit and extra medicines (for those who require them) may make the difference between a bad situation, and a worse situation by addressing any medical needs. In the case of those requiring necessary medication, having extra amounts stored in a vehicle will help cap with being stranded for extended periods of time.
  • A basic tool kit. A pocket knife. Booster (jumper) cables. Access to basic tool kits may be able to address minor, easily reparable issues with a stalled automobile. A pair of vehicle booster cables may help restore a stalled vehicle to working order, should a loss of battery power become an issue.
  • Emergency road flares. Emergency reflectors. Glow sticks. These items will not only provide a source of illumination for stranded motorists, but will aid stranded motorists in being located by first-responders or other motorists who could provide assistance.
  • A bag of kitty litter. Sand. Road salt. These items can be used, in conjunction with the shovel, to help provide traction for a vehicle that becomes entrenched in heavy snow. Having these items will increase the chances of a stranded driver pulling themselves free in such an entanglement.
  • A tow rope/chain. This item can be used along with another vehicle to pull stranded vehicles out of heavy snow, should a motorist becomes stuck.
  • An extra cell phone. Cell phone (automobile) adapter. These items will allow stranded motorists to call for assistance, without the threat of low/no low battery power for a working cell phone.

Sample emergency vehicle survival kit
Sample emergency vehicle survival kit

Though most wintertime can be uneventful, it does present its potential for challenges. Being prepared by anticipating potential needs in the event of a wintertime driving emergency can go a long ways toward making a crisis situation less of a crisis.


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