Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Vehicle Emergency Kit

Picture this. You are driving your car, either by yourself or with your children. It's cold, dark, and there are several inches of snow on the ground. The road is slick. Suddenly you realize you're going too fast and before you know it you're stuck in the ditch.

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You are miles away from home, town, or any other people that could help you. No cell phone reception either.  Cars passing by are far and few in between, if at all. The visibility is low and not many people could see you anyway. What do you have in your car that will help you get through this? You start looking and realize that you forgot your heavy coat. You didn't really need it, you were just going for a quick ride into town, right?

You begin to realize you are going to be there for a while and need something to keep you and the kids warm, but nothing is to be found. Then, the kids begin whining because they are hungry and scared. What do you do?

Well in this situation, there's not much to do but comfort the children and hope and pray that someone stops for you. But since we're not really in this position we can prevent it before it happens. This is why it is important to make sure you have the necessities for winter driving.

So, what can we keep in the car that would help in this situation? First of all we have several main things we need to focus on. These are warmth, visibility, food and water. Let's start out with warmth, our most important factor in cold weather.

I always keep a heavy blanket for each person in my truck because of the described scenario above. Also, I include several emergency blankets in my truck. They are small and light, so it makes it easy to keep a few on hand, just in case. In addition, I keep enough hand and body warmers for each person. If it is below freezing, these could prevent losing finger or toes due to frostbite.

In addition to these, keep a few good pairs of gloves and scarves in the car too. These will come in handy if you need to go out and change a tire, etc.

Next on on our list is visibility. The first thing I would want would be a reflective triangle to place on the road. This will get people's attention, and possibly get you out of there sooner. It can also help if you are stuck on the road by preventing you from getting rear-ended, etc. due to low visibility.
Always keep a couple flashlights in the car. My opinion is that you can never have too many! Another great item to have on hand is a headlamp. These are invaluable while changing a tire ;)

For the kiddos, glow sticks are a great way to calm them down and give them something to play with.

Food and Water
This is an area where you will have to take into account what you and your kids like to eat. Personally, I keep a box of Clif bars in my truck. I like to eat them, and they're not messy. Try to keep something that is not too salty or sweet so you aren't even more thirsty. (Bathroom trips in the snow aren't fun ;)

If this was to turn into something longer than a several hour ordeal, then we would need something more than just granola bars however. Merchants on sell emergency food bars that contain several thousand calories that are meant for these types of emergencies. I have never tried them, but if space is limited these may be a good option for you.

For water, I normally keep a 24-pack of bottled water with me. I drink them at work, so they get rotated frequently. If you don't a lot of room, a couple 2-liter bottles could easily fit under the passenger seat or in the trunk.

This is intended to be in addition to an already well rounded vehicle emergency kit. I hope to post soon on what to keep in your vehicle year round.

Did I forget anything? What do you keep in your vehicle in the winter? Let me know in the comment section below! :)

This blog post is linked to Homestead Revival Preparedness Challenge #30 , Homestead Revival Barn Hop #38, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways ,Teach Me Tuesdays, It's A Keeper Thursday, and Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. One thing to remember is that sometimes you can't get to your trunk, and if you are stuck for a few hours you may need a "bathroom".

  2. Excellent post and information. With the winter weather approaching, I have been thinking about this as well. I have been trying to prepare my home also. Last February, there was a terrible ice storm causing us to lose power for five days. We are trying to cover all of the bases this winter. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and vehicle winter preparedness information.

  3. Great thoughts! We are due to have our first snow tonight, so it has been on my mind.

  4. Thank you Nichole for sharing this today at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways:) I love this post! I'm sharing it on my fb right now:) Blessings!

  5. I live in North Dakota and one of the key items I keep in our car emergency kit is a large coffee can with a roll of toilet paper inside it. Just incase someone needs to "go" and it's too cold to get out of the car.

  6. I keep a few towels, extra socks, TP, a puzzle book and pencil, peanut butter and crackers, a knife, rope, blankets, emergency blankets(mylar), a few female products(you never know), and some wipes. I am sure that I missed listing something.

  7. I wrote a similar article earlier this month. Such a great topic! I also mentioned having a pair of winter boots in your car. So often we head out the door in shoes that seem ok but won't keep us warm or dry if we're digging out of the snow.

    Here is a link to the article:

    Glad I found your blog :)