Winter weather has already arrived to some locations in the United States. Naturally it has people thinking about “winterizing” their homes, stocking their emergency kits, and being prepared for the season ahead. Being caught off guard by a winter storm is a less than ideal situation – so it’s really important to plan ahead for extreme winter weather situations.
One of the most overlooked places to be winterized is your vehicle. We make sure we have plenty of winter supplies and gear at home, but we forget to make sure the car is stocked as well. If you live in an area where you get lots of snow and ice, this could easily be something you forget because you are so used to winter weather that you don’t get concerned about it anymore. It could also be forgotten by those who don’t ever have to deal with snow and ice, because it just isn’t on their radar of things to consider. Either way, it should be on your lists of tasks to complete when the weather starts to turn colder.
Here are some supplies you should think of adding to winterize your car’s emergency kit or just plan on carrying along all winter each time you are out and about:
If you already have an emergency kit in your car, this is going to mean just adding in some extra items to what you already have in there. If you don’t have one, consider building one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, it could be a plastic storage tote or a large duffel bag or suitcase that you keep in the trunk. Some items could even be stored in zipper bags in the glove box, or under the seats, too. If you have infants or small children, you need to take along a fully stocked diaper bag, including extra formula or baby food and plenty of diapers and wipes.
One of the first items we think about when it comes to winter time is adding coats, scarves and gloves. The same is true when winterizing your car kit every time you leave the house, make sure everyone in the car has a coat, hat and gloves. Winter temperatures can change quickly, which could leave you without proper clothing if temperatures were to plummet while you are on the go. In addition, you should keep extra gloves, earmuffs, and hats, along with blankets for every person in the vehicle. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to throw in some extra socks or an extra shirt for everyone too, just in case you need to layer clothes. Some of those pocket hand warmers might not be a bad idea either.
Food and Water
It’s always a good rule of thumb to take along everyone a bottle of water and some snacks when you’re out for the day or on a trip. You just never know when you might need some nourishment and there might not be a place to stop and get something. In the winter, you could easily find yourself in a traffic standstill that could last for hours- which is long time if you need nourishment or water. If you’re going to store snacks, choose items that won’t freeze; things like granola bars, crackers, or trail mix. Sugary snacks aren’t a good choice, pick foods that are protein rich. Water bottles may freeze and crack if left in the car at all times so some people decide to just take fresh ones along each time they leave the house.
This is a really important category – winter car maintenance items are crucial to keep in the car. It is better to stock them and not need them – than to need them and not have them. You should have windshield de-icer (at least 2 cans), extra wiper blades, a couple of strong ice scrapers, and extra windshield washer fluid (the kind that has de-icer in it). You also want to make sure you have jumper cables, a couple of flashlights with extra batteries, and tire chains. It’s always a good idea to make sure that you have a full gas tank in situations like this as well.
A couple of other helpful hints… Always use caution when traveling in winter weather. Conditions can deteriorate very rapidly without much warning, so if you can stay home, it is best to do so. If you have to travel – use some of the suggestions here to travel smart. Also, if you are stranded in your car, stay inside your vehicle until you have no other choice but to leave it.
As you winterize your home, don’t forget your vehicles! They can be your home away from home if you are stranded and you want them to be fully ready!