There’s not a single person who foresees themselves needing a car emergency kit; however, should the unfortunate occur, these kits can mean the difference between surviving harsh winter nights or succumbing to the icy touch of Father Winter. While there are many items you should have in your emergency car kit, the following 15 items are essential when traversing the roadways during winter months.
Item #1 Flannel or Fleece Blanket
Should you become stranded in your vehicle, a fleece or flannel blanket is essential to keep your body temperature in the acceptable range. While any type of blanket will do, flannel or fleece blankets are designed to trap heat better than cotton or polyester blankets.
Item #2 Water
Make sure you have at least four litres of water stored in your vehicle, ideally it should be in several smaller bottles, so if one leaks, you haven’t lost all your water in one go. Water is a vital item for your emergency car kit, whatever the time of year.
Item #3 Hand Warmers
Hand warmers are essential as they not only keep your hands warm, but you may place them inside your clothing to maintain ideal body core temperatures.
Item #4 Matches and a Butane Lighter
Should you be trapped for an extended period of time, it may be necessary to manufacture heat outside of blankets and hand warmers. Matches and wind resistant butane lighters provide instant access to starting a heat generating fire.
Item #5 Fire Starters
If you’re stuck in snow or wet conditions, finding acceptable wood or other fire starters can be difficult, if not impossible. Gather at least 10 old newspapers or several fire starting logs to help start a fire when stranded.
Item #6 Portable, High Protein Food Source
Every vehicle emergency kit should contain at least 10 protein bars to keep energy levels high should you need to vacate your vehicle and traverse to shelter.
Item #7 Foghorn
While every kit should contain a whistle, foghorns provide a much louder noise capable of being heard miles away. This item could mean the difference between being heard, and subsequently rescued, or being left among the frozen vegetation.
Item #8 Neon Orange Flags
Should your vehicle slide off into a ditch where other travellers are unable to see, neon orange flags provide the ideal contrast to the white snow. The most important element when stranded is becoming as visible as possible by both land and air rescuers.
Item #9 Pepper Spray or Taser
Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous world. Whether another human wishes to take advantage of your vulnerable state or a wild animal desires to investigate the warm creatures in the metal box, defence items, such as pepper spray or a Taser, could mean the difference between staying safe or being placed in harm’s way.
Item #10 LED Lantern and Flashlights
While a flashlight is a necessity for any emergency kit, an LED lantern provides far more illumination, which may be required when walking around at night or investigating the condition of your car in low light situations.
Item #11 Waterproof Jacket & Footwear
Should you need to vacate the vehicle to seek assistance or other shelter, waterproof clothing and footwear are essential to keep you warm and dry whilst outside.
Item #12 Bag of Sand
A bag of sand is necessary to create traction to help navigate a vehicle out of an ice and snow covered ditch. Moreover, if you must walk down steep slopes, throwing sand in front of your path reduces the likelihood of slips and falls.
Item #13 Portable Shovel
Shovels are essential for any winter vehicle emergency kit as it assists in digging your car out of snow or creating pathways should you need to navigate through deep snow.
Item #14 Extra Clothing
Prepare for the worst by keeping three pairs of thick socks, several scarves and a few pairs of pants in your emergency kit. Should your clothing become wet, it’s essential to
replace with dry clothes to prevent hypothermia, or worse.
Item #15 A Good Book
While an emergency kit is designed to keep your body safe, a book can help preoccupy your mind should you be stranded for long durations. Avoid digital book readers as they’re only useful when powered.
Item #16 A Small First Aid Kit
For obvious reasons!
Item #17 A Good Quality Multi-Tool
A good quality multi-tool such as a Leatherman Sidekick is worth it’s weight in gold. It is useful for a whole range of things from repairing your vehicle, first aid, rescue and survival. Everyone should have one in their car.