It's Winter time, do you have a car emergency kit?

RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

Things happen so fast during the winter or all year round for that matter. Do you and your family members have an emergency kit in the car? Here's a post with suggestions on making one.

A nice christmas gift might be one of those kits that you can purchase that have reflectors, jumper cables and other items in a carrying case.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,354 admin

    This is a very good discussion to post.

    We always have the basics on hand (jumper cables, bungee cords, tools, extra hitch, a very heavy tow strap, and more) that may be needed throughout the year, including a first aid kit which includes foil "blankets."

    Come winter, we pack a goody pack (we celebrate not needing them in winter by a special goody feast in spring). This includes things that can freeze. A super large chocolate bar or two for sugar energy, a nut/seed nut mix or nuts (fat energy), jerky packs (protein), & fruit leather (natural sugar energy & more). Sometimes there are other things. These are always in a mouse proof container. They stay in the vehicle. If we use anything (we generally have a strict hands off policy), it gets replaced immediately.

    It hasn't been cold enough until just lately and we have rarely been it slipped my mind to rebuild this part until now.

    We always bring water any time of year, and if we have small boxed juices, they come along & go back into our house with us. Frozen juice boxes are useless if you need to drink them.

    When we plan to go for a trip, we have our warm winter clothing & cold weather boots, mitts & such, and bring extra blankets & cold weather sleeping bags. It gets to be a lot for 6 people! We try to squish these into garbage bags to keep them clean & hopefully, if we can get the air out, we can keep the space used to a minimum. This gets removed after each trip.

    It is recommended to have a candle in a safe burning container, and something to light it with. Chains/sand/kitty litter is good. We have a shovel as well.

    We may have more, but I don't remember anything else at the moment.

    It is amazing how quickly you can become very cold if you are stuck in your vehicle (we've been there a few times), especially if it quits ( heat). It is best to be prepared. As far as I am concerned, over prepping is highly recommended, because you don't want to be stuck thinking you are prepared...but you really are not.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @RustBeltCowgirl We are expecting our first winter weather tomorrow and because of a case of "crisis fatigue", I haven't gotten our vehicles ready. Thanks for the reminder!

    We have blankets for everyone. I buy the cheap fleece ones which I normally hate, but they don't absorb water like cotton would and I don't mind if they are kicking around in the car. I keep a stash of hand warmers in the car along with water and granola bars. @LaurieLovesLearning I love the idea of a little "welcome spring" snack party!

    Be careful about running your vehicle when you're stranded. If you think you might be in a drift, it can be dangerous. An exhaust pipe clogged with snow and ice can kill you.

    We also have ice melt and an old rug in each car to help with traction on ice. When we had a pick up truck, we kept bags of sand in the bed so that it wouldn't be as prone to fish tailing on slippery roads.

    When our daughter lived in upstate New York, we would always take a lot more when we went to visit. We would have a lot of blankets, a couple of days worth of ready-to-eat food and at least one thermos full of hot water. If a thermos is well wrapped, it will keep water hot for an astonishingly long time.

    Thanks again for the reminder!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,500 admin

    Great discussion topic @RustBeltCowgirl. Appropriate reminders for this time of year.

    Everyone, regardless of where they live, should have an emergency kit in their car. I think most rural people or long distance travellers are prepared for long winter journeys as we probably know first hand what it is like to be stuck in a snow drift on a road with little traffic. But this can happen in cities, too. I have seen freeways at complete standstills for many hours because of snow, ice and white outs along with the subsequent multi vehicle accidents. People may be stranded in their vehicles even in the middle of a city. So, EVERYONE, get prepared. If you buy a ready made emergency kit, take it apart and get familiar with what is in it. And add to it. I have yet to see an emergency kit that has everything that I personally would need. Make sure to get a first aid kit. Some emergency kits will have a few basic first aid supplies but a separate, well stocked first aid kit is better.

    Our emergency supplies are very similar to @LaurieLovesLearning. Snack food is always a good idea and can be tailored to personal needs or likes. We also pack water each time we go out and bring it back in to prevent freezing at the end of the trip. I am not a fan of juice crystals but I do carry some Emergen-C in our emergency kit.

    Sunglasses are something that we always carry in the glove box. Winter glare can be worse than summer sunshine. Cheapies from the dollar store work well.

    When the kids were little, we used to carry small travel-sized board games. Now, we have a deck of cards.

    Most newer vehicles today are very complicated and difficult to work on but, that being said, a small tool kit is a good addition if you have room for it. I liked the suggestion in the article about carrying a car charger that will work for a car battery. And one for charging phones and pads. I think you can get one that does both a car and devices. If you have room, carry a regular sized spare tire in the winter. Very difficult to drive in snow and ice on the mini-sized spare that comes with a vehicle.

    We carry an axe as well as a shovel. Trees coming down across roads is a common hazard here.

    In the comments at the bottom of the article, there was the suggestion of using the foil reflectors for windshields that deflect summer heat to help keep the inside warmer in the winter. Great idea!

    If you don't know how to change a tire, learn! If you don't know how to put on chains, learn! Both are difficult skills to learn when your fingers are frozen.

    And don't forget TP!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    @RustBeltCowgirl thank you for the reminder of car kits. My car kit has contained emergency blankets, first aid kit, food, flashlight and extra batteries. I love LED flashlights now. I put my car kit under the table in the house several years ago. That was a very dangerous thing to do. Since that time we had a snow and ice storm that lasted for more than a week. I was actually snowed in house sitting. Not fun. I also carried some of the things that @LaurieLovesLearning talked about. It is great because everyone includes a few different things that are so helpful.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RustBeltCowgirl what a great topic. Thank you for posting it.

    I am constantly changing or updating my car emergency kit. I always feel like I must be forgetting something really important. My oldest daughter has a small snow shovel that she keeps in her truck incase she is in a situation where the car is still functioning properly but is stuck in a minimal amount of snow. I keep meaning to get one for my van too, but it is never in the front of my mind when I would have an opportunity to grab one. I love the ideas shared. I also do my own variation of a snack kit. I always keep extra hats, gloves, scarves, etc in my kit. The mention of a tool kit is very helpful too. My husband "borrowed" the tool kit out of my car, and it seems that I will not be getting it back. I should probably replace that too.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Something that I have in my car that most people might not think of: a small air compressor. They're not as fast as the gas station or tire center, but useful along the side of the road.

    Mine is about the size of a shoe box and looks like a little car.