15 Important Things to Keep in Your Car During Winter
Imagine this: It’s a chilly winter morning. It snowed a little overnight but you wake up to sunny skies and clear roads. You leave your house to go to work and find a layer of frozen snow on your car. You open the trunk to get your ice scraper/snow brush, but it’s not there. “Crap,” you think to yourself, “I never bought a new one after mine broke last winter!”
With no snow brush, you use your arm to clear some snow off your car. But you’re already running late for work so you only clear the windows. “Oh well, good enough,” you think as you get into the driver’s seat. You pull out of the driveway and begin to speed up on the main road. But suddenly, the sheet of frozen snow from your car’s roof slides onto the front windshield. It blocks your view and creates a blinding glare. You can’t see! You try to put on your wipers, when…BOOM. You rear-end the car in front of you at a stop sign.
Luckily, the collision was minor with no major injuries or damage. But, this crash could have been prevented had you been prepared.
There are steps you can take to avoid a winter car accident. But it never hurts to prepare for emergencies in case you do get into a crash. Winter car preparation is crucial for staying safe in cold weather emergencies on the road. Being prepared will make things easier if you get into a crash, break down, or get stuck in the snow this winter. Check out the list below for 15 important things to keep in your car during winter.
Related: 7 Mistakes People Make When Driving in Snow and Ice
15 Items to Put in Your Winter Driving Safety Kit
1. Sturdy ice scraper and snow brush. This is one of the most crucial things to keep in your car during winter. You know the weatherman isn’t always right, so a small chance of flurries could end up leaving a few inches of snow on your car. Put an ice scraper and snow brush in your car as soon as the cold weather hits. Snow and ice on cars is dangerous because it could obstruct your view or fly off and hit another car. Always clear your ENTIRE car of snow and ice before driving to prevent a crash.
2. Shovel. Buy a small or collapsible shovel to keep in your trunk. It will be useful if your car is stuck in snow or if you have to clear a path to drive.
3. Gloves and other winter clothing. You have the snow brush and shovel, but now you need to actually use them. Wearing gloves and other warm clothing will make the task of clearing your car easier. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a few hand warmers in your car. Always be ready to bundle up to prevent frostbite! You’ll do a better job of clearing your car when you’re warm.
4. Blanket. Have extra blankets lying around your house? Put one in your car. If you get stranded or get into a crash, it’ll get cold fast, especially if your car won’t turn on. You can’t always rely on your car’s heater, so keep warm with a blanket.
5. Emergency flares or reflectors. Snow storms reduce visibility whether it’s daytime or nighttime. Reflectors will help other cars and emergency vehicles see you if you are stopped on the side of the road.
6. Rock salt, sand, or kitty litter. These coarse materials will help your tires gain traction if your vehicle is stuck in the snow. Spread the material near your tires and in your car’s path to get out of a slippery situation.
7. First aid kit. A first aid kit is crucial if someone is injured in a car crash. Although it’s essential year-round, this is one of the most important things to keep in your car during winter because emergency vehicle response time may be slow if it’s snowing. Administer basic first aid to the victim until assistance arrives.
8. Extra windshield washer fluid. Make sure your windshield washer fluid has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing. Clearing your windshield with fluid will improve visibility in a winter storm.
9. Flashlight. It gets dark early in the winter. If you stall or get stranded at night, use the flashlight to find out what’s wrong. It can also make you more visible to others on the road.
10. Rope or chain. A tow chain is a great tool to get your car out of snow.
11. Jumper cables. Cold weather can affect a car’s battery. You can’t start your car if the battery’s dead, which means you won’t be able to use the car’s heater for warmth. Waiting for a jump start in the cold is not fun. You won’t have to wait as long if you have jumper cables with you.
12. Small tool kit. You can fix minor vehicle problems with basic tools. Learn how to perform simple maintenance yourself so you don’t have to wait for help.
13. Sunglasses. While sunglasses are more of a summer accessory, the sun’s reflection on snow is bright. Wear sunglasses while driving to reduce glare.
14. Cell phone charger. Try to keep your phone charged before hitting the road, but always keep a cell phone charger in your car as well. You will need your phone to call for assistance if you are stuck or involved in a car crash.
15. Water and non-perishable snacks. If you get stranded, you may have to wait for assistance. The wait could be long if road conditions are bad. Storing water and snacks in your car will come in handy in these situations. A snack like a granola bar will sure taste good while you’re waiting for help to arrive. And don’t forget about snacks for your kids- they might get hungry and cranky in a situation like this.
*These are all essential things to keep in your car during winter, but before you even hit the road, make sure you have gas and good wiper blades. Always keep a half-full tank of gas in your car during winter months and check that your wiper blades are in working order. You may also want to look into getting snow tires.
Car Accident Attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
You can take steps to reduce your risk of a car accident but unfortunately, you can’t protect yourself from negligent drivers. If you or a loved one was hurt in a winter car crash, you deserve an experienced and caring attorney. A Philadelphia car accident attorney at Kane & Silverman will be on your side. Our experienced lawyers will fight for your rights and investigate what caused the winter car crash. Please contact us at 215-232-1000 or fill out our contact form online to speak with one of our attorneys.