The entire nation watched this video of a commercial truck sliding diagonally down an icy mountain highway in Truckee! We know you’re not likely to be driving a tractor trailer, but even the family SUV would be better prepared with these must-have winter safety additions to your emergency car kit.
Along with the year-round emergency supplies (flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables, emergency flares, battery operated radio, distress flag, water, non-perishable snacks, emergency contact list, and cell phone adapter) winter snow and ice demand a few extra essentials
- Winter apparel. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how. Here’s a list of the winter emergency items you should have in your car from the first frost until that final spring thaw: many of us hop in the car in our warmish garages, then head out into the snow without coats, hats, gloves, or boots. When you find yourself in an emergency, whether it’s a flat tire or a white-out, you’ll need those warm clothing items. Toss a spare pair of gloves and a hat into your emergency kit, and always bring a coat and boots, even if you don’t plan to wear them during your errand…a little forethought can save your life.
- A shovel. Whether you’re digging away snow or mud or using it to throw a traction aid such as sand or cat litter under the wheel, this is a must-have winter too. Most department or discount stores offer a folding version that fits easily in your trunk.
- Scraper and whisk broom, or combo. The snow falls everywhere. Ice happens. There’s nothing like coming out of the grocery store and having to try to scrape your windshield with your library card, or using your coat sleeve to brush off your windows.
- Traction boosters. Sand, road salt, or cat litter, a sizable bag of something gritty to boost traction can be a lifesaver on icy roads.
- Whether you choose to toss blankets or sleeping bags into your trunk, do add something to keep you warm. Preferably one per person. Reflective Mylar emergency blankets (sheets of shiny plastic) are a common first aid item, but they’re not nearly as good at preserving body heat as the real thing.
- Chain or rope. Mostly used for towing, they can also boost traction when laid under a wheel. Tire chains are also a great help with poor traction, although you should read up on where and when you are allowed to use them on public roads.
- Spare dose. If you or a family member take medication, consider saving a dose or two in a prescription bottle and into your emergency car kit. Check with your pharmacist to make sure the medicine is safe to store in freezing temperatures. Pharmacists are often willing to give you a second bottle with the prescribing information when you fill your prescription. This not only allows you to have your medicine on hand in a lengthy emergency but tucking the bottle(s) into a coat pocket during an emergency also tells first responders about your medical conditions if you cannot communicate.