What to pack in your car’s winter emergency kit

The holidays may be over, but the winter weather is just getting started for most of the country. By now, you’ve survived family and friends, tempting holiday treats, too many visitors, buying and exchanging your Christmas gifts… And just when you thought you wouldn’t have to survive anything else, it’s time to think about having a semi-survival kit in your vehicle.

Icy roads, inclement weather, and slick roads make winter driving a more challenging (and potentially dangerous) for many regions across the nation. We’ve talked about winter car preparation here before, providing helpful tips on making sure your vehicle is ready for travel during the colder,  harsh-weather months.

CarMax, the largest retailer of used vehicles in the country, recently conducted a survey that discovered nearly two-thirds of Americans are not fully prepared for winter weather, meaning they do not have a vehicle winter emergency kit. According to the survey, one in 10 car owners reported having none of the essential supplies for a winter emergency kit, but more than half said they had jumper cables, a flashlight, or an ice scraper in their car.

CarMax encourages all drivers to prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in their vehicle. “If you have to travel in winter weather, an emergency kit can be a life-saving tool,” said Linda White, location general manager at CarMax in Midlothian, Va. “Most people already have the suggested items, it’s just a matter of collecting them and putting them in your car.”

Tip:  Put together a duffle bag of these items and store it in your vehicle’s trunk. If you have a larger car with extra storage compartments, get creative and store items where possible to leave more room in the main cargo area. If you drive a smaller vehicle with minimal trunk space, then use your glove box and door compartments to store the smaller items.

What to pack in your car’s winter emergency kit:

  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit
  • Flares and/or hazard triangles
  • Warm clothes, gloves and a blanket
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow shovel
  • Kitty litter – for traction on slick roadways
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Non-perishable food and bottled water
  • Cell phone car charger

Related articles:

Five Tips to Winterize Your Car

How NOT to De-Ice Your Windshield

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.