The essential survival kit for winter driving

Winter brings with it chilly weather and occasionally difficult or dangerous driving conditions, so preparing yourself and your car ahead of time for winter can be an important safety precaution. Sudden snowstorms can cause you to get lost or accidentally drive off the road, icy conditions can make surfaces slippery and leaving the heater or radio on when the car is off can drain the battery quickly.

Creating a winter survival kit for your car can keep you safe and help you out of tricky situations, and doesn’t take too long or much of an investment to assemble. Keep everything together and organized neatly in a container, and check that everything is working and fresh at the beginning of each winter or any time it is used. Here are a few key items to gather and keep at hand.

There are a few tools that can be very important if you encounter harsh weather or something happens to your vehicle. These items help you stay visible if you need to be found in a storm or at night, prepare you if your car needs a jump or if you need to drive or be towed out of a ditch or if you need to call help.

If your car gets stuck or breaks down, it’s important to have some basic items to ensure that you can stay warm, fed and hydrated while waiting for rescue. You may also want to pack a book or magazines in case you get stuck waiting for awhile. If you regularly carry many passengers, aim to bring enough of each item to keep everyone comfortable.

  • Food that doesn’t go bad, such as energy bars, nuts, crackers and dried fruit
  • Water in plastic bottles to prevent them from cracking if they freeze
  • Warm blanket
  • Extra mittens, socks and hats
  • Emergency candles and matches
  • A spare supply of necessary medications
  • First aid kit
  • Paper and pencils in case you need to leave a note

Apart from preparing this kit, it’s important to ensure that your car stays safe for operation during the winter. Regular oil changes and maintenance are vital and having snow tires installed if needed help keep your vehicle reliable on the roads. Aim to keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car during regular driving. Finally, check the weather forecast before heading out and if you are taking a route that is challenging or if weather reports look bad, tell someone where you’re going, what the travel plan is, how they can reach you and when you expect to be back. Safe driving!