11 Items for an Effective Winter Emergency Kit

Don’t hit the roads this winter without a winter emergency kit in your car. Here are a few items that you should include in your kit:

A shovel

You never know when you’ll get stuck or caught up in some heavier-the-expected snow. A shovel is key to getting your car free and getting you home safely.

Ice scraper and brush

No winter emergency kit should be without an ice scraper and brush. You should always clear the roof, windows, hood, and lights before operating your vehicle. Many people clear their windows and lights but forget the roof and hood. Snow can lift from the hood and roof and land on your windshield causing a complete loss of visibility or can impact a vehicle behind you causing loss of visibility for another driver.

Sand, salt, or kitty litter

If you lose traction and have to get free the best tool to accompany that shovel is a bag od sand, salt, or kitty litter. These items help you gain traction when stuck on ice allowing you to regain mobility and get off the roadside.

Booster cables

With winter comes not-so-battery-friendly cold temperatures. Winter means you have a much greater chance of a dead battery. Booster cables are needed to get you back on the road safely. We’ve all been in a situation where someone’s willing to give you a boost but neither party has cables. Carry your own to solve the problem for you and a neighbour.

First Aid Kit

Check out the Canadian Red Cross’s tips for first aid kit contents. Consider shopping locally for a winter-specific first aid kit.

Emergency food and water

Choose food that will not freeze or that can handle being stored in a cold location like your trunk. Wrap your emergency water in a mylar emergency blanket or store it in a temperature-safe insulated container.

Emergency flashlight

Ideally choose a wind-up flashlight but you can also choose a battery operated flashlight just remember to check the flashlight periodically to ensure the batteries are still working.

Replacement batteries

Keep a replacement set of various battery sizes on-hand, preferably stored separately in the glove box where the temperature is less likely to remain under 0 degrees. This will help your batteries last longer. Cold temperatures reduce battery performance too, so when possible let the batteries warm up safely before use. They’ll last longer and work better. Do not warm batteries up with an external heat source, batteries should never be heated. Keep them with you while the vehicle is warm.

Ways to stay warm

Dress appropriately each day and ensure your winter emergency kit contains blankets, hats, scarves, dry winter socks, and a spare sweater if possible.

Cell phone charger

Always ensure you have a car charger for your phone, you never know when you’ll get stuck or how long you’ll be there.

Rope and tape

Always carry rope and tape, they’re multi-use items that come in handy when you least expect.

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