Unforeseen weather conditions in the winter can cause accidents, traffic jams or delays. To ensure you stay safe, you should be prepared for anything the frigid temperatures may have in store. Otherwise, the situation could turn from bad to dangerous. If you’re wondering what to keep in your car during winter, here are some emergency items that can help you through any predicament:
- Extra clothing: Pack gloves, a hat, a jacket and pants to keep yourself warm in case you get stuck in traffic or on the side of the road. Also, turn your car on for 10 minutes each hour to warm up your hands and body. Avoid leaving your vehicle on for too long so you don’t run out of gas.
- First aid kit: Although you never expect to get into a car wreck or witness one, you still should be prepared with bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze and adhesive tape. If your injuries aren’t severe, you can patch yourself up until you get to the hospital.
- Shovel: If you slide and end up in a ditch, you might be able to get yourself back on the road if you have a shovel on hand. This tool is especially beneficial if you’re on a back street with little traffic or few houses, as you won’t be able to ask for help easily.
- Cell phone charger: A dead phone battery can keep you from making an emergency phone call. Try to remember to charge your phone before leaving your house, but it’s also wise to keep a backup charger in your vehicle to ensure a poor service area doesn’t drain your battery.
- Water: While it’s unlikely you’ll get stranded for several hours, it’s still possible. To stay adequately hydrated during this time, make sure you have bottled water – and a few nonperishable food items – to hold you over.
While there are other items you may want to carry with you, such as blankets and flashlights, this list is a great starting point. Keeping these essentials in your car will give you peace of mind when traveling.
Take Precautions Before Driving
Before hitting the road, you should check out your car to confirm its safety. Make sure you clean the entire vehicle off, including the roof and side windows. Check the tires’ air pressure and tread depth to assess whether you should get a new set soon. Also, if your vehicle has snow chains, you should ensure they are tight on each tire.
Protect Your Engine
Cold temperatures are hard on vehicles’ engines. Before winter begins, you should change or upgrade the oil and check the coolant system. If you’re not comfortable doing this maintenance yourself, a local auto shop can help. You may also want to request an engine tune-up.
Additionally, you should allow your vehicle to warm up during those frigid winter months, as this process helps the fluids flow better. If you don’t want to run outside to start your car, consider purchasing a remote car starter.
If you’re looking for parts to winterize your car, an auto parts store may have what you need. Resourceful staff members can lead you in the right direction.