This should be included in a winter emergency car kit

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    Living in a region with scorching cold winters makes you an expert on winter cars.

    But skillful winter driving is more than just knowing what to do if you slip on ice or how to properly clean your windshield. It means keeping track of important vehicle maintenance such as checking the exterior lights, the battery test and regular tire pressure checks.

    It’s just as important to pack a winter emergency kit that you can keep in your car throughout the season. The best way to ensure your safety in the event that you get stranded in your car during a winter snow storm – other than not driving in that storm – is to pack a winter car emergency kit.

    10 items that should be included in a winter emergency car kit

    You likely have plenty of items at home that you can use in your car’s winter emergency kit. The rest can be purchased relatively cheaply.

    A GIF shows things needed for a winter car emergency kit, such as a phone charger, tools, road salt, winter gear, blankets, snacks, water, a shovel, ice scraper, and flashlight.
    Tina Russell and Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

    1. Phone charger

    Phones have become one of the most important resources in an emergency, so making sure you have power to them is important.

    In addition to a charging cable, I also recommend buying a power bank (aka a portable charger) in case your car can’t provide the power to charge your phone.

    If you don’t have any extras at home, you can order cheap chargers and power banks from Amazon that work well in an emergency.

    Costs: $ 25

    2. Flashlight and batteries

    Although most phones have flashlights, it’s handy to have a flashlight that you can use to look under the hood or car when you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem yourself. Just make sure it has fresh batteries.

    Costs: $ 10

    3. Multipurpose radio

    If your vehicle has lost power and you cannot charge your phone, a battery-powered radio or crank radio may be your only source of emergency information.

    Radios are cheap these days, but you can skip the cost of a flashlight and power bank to charge your phone with a multipurpose hand-crank radio on Amazon too.

    Costs: $ 20

    4. Hats, gloves and blankets

    A man holds a winter coat, gloves, hat and socks in his hands.
    Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

    You should always take a coat with you when traveling in winter, but extra winter gear in the trunk won’t hurt.

    If you have extra hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and blankets at home, just reach for these. If not, buy some thrift from a thrift store as these are meant for survival, not style.

    Costs: $ 0 to $ 20

    5. Foldable shovel

    When you lose control and get off the road, getting your vehicle out of the snow can be difficult. A small shovel, preferably a collapsible one, can come in handy in such a scenario.

    You can find them on Amazon, like this model that comes with a nylon tote bag.

    Costs: $ 20

    6. Road salt or cat litter

    Shovels aren’t your only savior when you get stuck in the snow. Road salt can provide the much-needed traction.

    You can buy an affordable 5 pound bag to keep in the back of your car. Cat litter or sand are also sufficient.

    Costs: $ 10

    7. Snacks and water

    If you’ve been stranded for several hours or more, staying hydrated and keeping your energies up is important. Pack a box of bottled water to keep in the trunk if you can afford the space, and add a bag of high-protein snacks that don’t deteriorate as quickly as nuts and protein bars.

    Costs: $ 15

    8. Flares and jumper cables

    A woman uses jump leads to start a yellow Honda Fit.
    Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

    Torches and jump leads should be in your car year round, but this is especially important in winter when it gets dark earlier and car batteries are more prone to die out. You can find a highway flare kit and jumper cables at your local auto store or online.

    Costs: $ 25

    9. First aid kit

    Another year-round staple is a first aid kit, which should include bandage, tweezers, scissors, tape, antiseptic cream, pain reliever, insect bite cream, and burn cream. You can find compact first aid kits on the Internet that contain the essentials in travel size.

    Costs: $ 15

    10. Tools

    A close photo of a hammer is shown against an orange background.
    Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

    Having a few basic tools available, including an ice scraper, can come in handy in a real winter emergency. A multitool like a Swiss Army Knife can be particularly useful.

    Costs: $ 25

    Timothy Moore is a contributor for The Penny Hoarder.


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