You need a winter survival kit for your vehicle. Whether it is your own vehicle or you are only renting for a few days, this kit could mean the difference between life and death. Sure, if you are only driving in the city and on residential roads, the need for a winter survival kit won’t be as high, as you should have cell service and may be able to enlist help from a nearby resident, should you need it.
The real danger when driving in the winter is when heading out of town and traveling on highways and rural roads where you don’t see homes for minutes or hours at a time. These are the areas that are very dangerous to drive on due to their isolation, and driving on these roads is why you need a winter survival kit for your car at all times.
1. Tools for the Snow
These are tools you should keep with you whether you are within or outside city limits because they can be very helpful should it snow between drives:
- A shovel;
- and windshield wiper and scraper.
2. Tools to Get You Unstuck
These tools will be more useful in rural areas, but they can help you get out of an outdoor parking spot just as easily:
- Tire mats;
- and tire chains.
3. Battery Booster
If you are traveling out of the city or need to drive somewhere on a national holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, then it is best to have a battery booster on hand. In the city, if you know what you are doing, you could use another vehicle to jump-start your car. But another vehicle might not always be available, and in those cases a battery booster will work in a pinch. Being able to jump-start your own car is much preferable to calling an emergency mechanic or paying for a taxi service to and from your destination, especially in frigid conditions.
4. Lighter and Flare
Having a lighter and a flare are critical if you get into an accident on a rural road. Your car won’t start, and it could get very cold very quickly. You can use the flare to draw the attention of other drivers, and the lighter could be used to start a fire for warmth.
5. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is something that should be in every car, though if you travel frequently on rural roads that don’t have a lot of traffic, you will want to splurge on more than just Band-Aids. Having a tourniquet in your first-aid kit, for example, could save someone’s life. When buying a first aid kit discuss with the representative what it should include in case you get into an accident on a rural road.
6. Snacks and Water
Water will likely freeze in your vehicle, but never leave home without a few bottles in storage. The same applies for protein snacks and other non-perishables. It’s not a necessity if you are driving in the city, but you want to be able to stay hydrated and fed if you break down or get into an accident in a rural area and need to wait for help.
7. Blanket and Spare Clothes
For the same reason you should always have a lighter in your vehicle, you will definitely want to bring a blanket and even some spare clothes. Spare clothes can help save you in a pinch no matter what time of the year, and a blanket can help protect your interior if you are transporting heavy objects, so they should be something you become used to bringing with you at all times. If you are in an accident or break down in a rural area in winter, they will play a big part in keeping you warm.
8. Personal Locator Beacon
This will be necessary if you drive in truly wild locations, where you could drive for hours without seeing a home or another person, and where cell service is nonexistent. This won’t apply to everyone, but if these are the roads you travel on, having a satellite-linked personal locator beacon is going to help you send out that SOS.
As you can imagine, what you should bring in your own vehicle or even in a rental will depend on where you are driving. Drive in the city, and you will only need a few of these items, as you’ll always be within easy reach of help. Drive in the middle of nowhere, and you are going to need to stock up on some survival items.