Now that we are currently in the winter season, it is very important to be prepared for any emergency situations. Depending on your climate, the winter season can certainly put our driving skills and vehicle to the test. We may experience a variety of conditions such as an extreme drop in temperature, low visibility, heavy winds, excessive amounts of snow, and slippery roads. Here is a list of the top ten most important items you should carry in your vehicle.
Booster Cables - Our vehicle's battery may not be able to withstand the extremely cold temperatures over the winter season. This will either be shown by not holding a charge or being able to handle a load when the engine is being turned over. Even with the reduced hours of daylight, we may also forget to turn off our lights, therefore killing our battery. When boosting your vehicle, ensure that you use a safe method as we do risk having a frozen battery.
12v Phone Charger - Considering there is a greatly increased risk driving, it is always good to have your phone charged or a way to charge it during long trips. There is the possibility of being stuck on hold for longer periods of time which we will need a sufficient amount of battery life left. Even with modern day smart phones, they are equipped with a GPS which can help us find our way during a snow storm.
Lighter - A lighter, when accompanied by a candle can be a great source of heat. Being that the vehicle's cabin is a small space, a candle should provide a small amount of heat to remove that chill in the air during those cold months, along with a source of light. Take the correct steps in order to maintain your safety so the candle doesn't become a hazard. The lighter can also be used to start fires as a larger source of heat, boil water, and even cook food if you are stranded for an extended period of time.
Gloves - Carrying an extra couple pairs of gloves is an important item to keep our hands warm. They can be used for cleaning the vehicle, solve an emergency situation, outdoor traveling, or even as a means to keep warm with no heat source. Different types of gloves can be combined, they can be used as a replacement if your current gloves are wet, or having an extra pair for any passengers. Beyond a fabric style glove, I would also recommend having rubber gloves as well. These can be used to keep your hands dry or clean when working with dirty components on a vehicle.
Blanket or Towel - If our vehicle happens to break down, despite it being a form of shelter you will still need a means to keep warm or hold in your body heat. Especially if one is forced to stay overnight in your vehicle, you will be exposed to much lower temperatures than compared to the day. Either a blanket or towel is sufficient for the task. Even is one were to get wet, a towel can be used to dry ourselves off.
Extra Coat - Beyond having a blanket or towel, it's important to have an extra coat as well. Again this can be used for ourselves or a passenger. It is an added way to keep warm, especially if we are forced travel in the extreme cold or are in need of changing a current wet coat. It is preferred to pick something with a hood as it's able to keep both our neck and head warm. If your coat is not equipped with a hood, then it is best to invest in a hat as well.
Emergency Triangle or Light - This is a great method to help demonstrate that you and your vehicle are in distress to fellow motorists passing by. You can have a single or multiples of this item which can be placed around your vehicle or on the roof where it can be easily spotted. Emergency triangles use a reflector so there is no need for any added maintenance. Emergency lights on the other hand will require you to keep an eye on the batteries to ensure they are functional and it would also be good practice to carry an extra set of replacement batteries.
Ice Scraper Snow Brush Combo - Anytime during the cooler months we do not want to be stuck outside scraping ice and snow with our bare hands. It's very important to ensure your vehicle is cleaned off of any winter debris as this will maintain our safety along with fellow motorists. Especially if you own a larger vehicle, there may be some harder to reach points which are only accessible using an ice scraper snow brush combo. This tool is available is a variety of styles, some even have an extendable handle. The assistance of this tool will not only do a better job cleaning, but also reduce the amount of time needed to clean your vehicle.
Tow Rope - At times, any tow service can be extremely busy or unable to make it due to the weather conditions. Therefore you may find yourself in an unfortunately situation not being able to move your vehicle, either stuck in a parking lot or perhaps you have slide off the road into a ditch. Sometimes a fellow motorist will be inclined to give your vehicle a pull which can save you both money and time, along with reducing having to spend more time outdoors than needed. When towing a vehicle as a safety precaution it is very important to know the pulling points on your vehicle. Normally an owner's manual does have this information outlined. Generally vehicles will either be equipped with stationary or removable tow hooks.
Shovel or Scoop - Last but not least is a snow shovel or scoop. These are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and some can even be folded to make them more compact. Your choice should be based on what can be easily stored in your vehicle and something which can fit easily under your vehicle. Many times when a vehicle is stuck, snow from about the wheels will need to be remove which is why it's best to have a lower profile shovel or scoop. This item will allow you to remove snow much quicker and reduces the need for using your hands which can make them cold or wet.
Items that you can carry in your vehicle are not just limited to what is found on this list. The required items will be based on the severity of your winter climate and the distance of your commutes. Hopefully your commutes will be free of any troubles, but it is always good to plan ahead and be prepared for anything mother nature throws at us.