Winter Car Survival Kit: Learning which items to pack and how to use them in the event of an emergency


With winter right around the corner, a lot of us may be thinking about the upcoming joys of the holiday season.  However, drops in temperature also mean changes in road conditions and proper vehicle performance.  Do you have everything you need in the event of a roadside emergency?

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the most essential items that you will need in the event of a roadside emergency this winter. Having simple tools such as a shovel or jumper cables can not only reduce breakdown time, but also save your life and the lives of your passengers.

In addition, practice using your items before you actually need them.  Learning how to use a tire inflator and car jack, as well as knowing how to open the car hood will reduce the time you spend figuring it out during an actual winter emergency.  Don’t forget to always let someone know where you are going and routes you will be taking so that help can find you sooner.


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Below are some essential items drivers should pack in their emergency kit.  While some may appear as a no-brainer, they can be commonly overlooked! For better organization, store these items in a medium sized plastic storage bin to eliminate a timely scavenger hunt.

Fluids to Pack:

  • Windshield Fluid
  • 2 Quarts of Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Bottled Water

Tools to Pack:

  • Shovel
  • Windshield Scraper
  • Flashlight & Extra Batteries
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Car Jack
  • Tire Inflator
  • Pliers
  • Tire Pressure Gage

Winter Essentials:

  • Blanket
  • Hats and gloves
  • Extra winter clothing
  • Matches
  • Kitty Litter
  • Nonperishable food
  • Protein bars
  • Tin can and candle


  • Jumper cables
  • Two chain or rope
  • Duct Tape
  • Paper towels

Important Tips:

  • Prepare: Store your toxic fluids in the trunk of your car to prevent leakage inside the vehicle. Keep the bottled water and food supplies in the cabin for easy access (be mindful of expiration dates and replace throughout the year).
  • Signal: Use your flares and triangular reflectors to signal rescuers to your vehicle. Resist leaving your headlights on and rely on your overhead dome light to save battery juice.
  • Prevent: In extreme weather conditions, exposure to freezing temperatures makes you susceptible to frost bite and hypothermia. Do not overexert yourself by shoveling snow, pushing the vehicle, etc. And, try to stay inside your vehicle in poor conditions.

Tools and their common uses:

  • Kitty Litter: Sprinkling non-clumping kitty litter behind and in front of tires will help to give the vehicle more traction in the event you are stuck in the snow.
  • Flashlight: For those that do not want to pack batteries or risk internal malfunction, pack a hand crank flashlight. This way, you will ensure guaranteed performance without packing extra materials.
  • Tin Can and Candle: Staying warm is essential in your survival. Light a candle in a tin can to keep warm and conserve your gas and car battery.

Emergencies are not always predictable nor are they preventable.  But what are some extra steps you can take to ensure your safety and survival?  Pack ahead of time to ensure you have the items you need in emergency situations and avoid traveling with under a half a tank of gas by filling up frequently (this will also prevent fuel lines from freezing.)

Safelite encourages all drivers to be extra safe this winter.  Use your best judgement when it comes to your travel routes and to be mindful of road conditions whether it’s snowing or not!

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