What to Put in a Car Emergency Kit for Winter

car emergency kit for winter essentials checklist

What to Put in a Car Emergency Kit for Winter

Winter is no time to find yourself ill-prepared for the harsh conditions it brings. From slide-offs to dead batteries and breakdowns, there is not a worse time to be left stranded and in need of assistance.

However, taking the critical steps now to prepare a car emergency kit for winter will ensure you have the tools you need to survive.

Read on for all the winter car essentials to stock for your car so you can Always Be Ready®.

First Aid Kit

In any emergency, a first aid kit is a must. If you are in an accident, you can use the first aid kit supplies to treat minor injuries. Stock your kit with any daily medications you take so that depending on how long you are stranded, you will have the medicines you need.

Small Tool Kit

Include a simple tool kit with a screwdriver, adjustable wrench, multi-tool, and duct tape. Handling small fixes on your own, even just to get you to a nearby service station, can save greatly on both time and the money to have your car towed.

Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are inexpensive and great to have on hand in case your battery dies. Plus, you cannot rely on others to have jumper cables.

These cables are easy to use, but if it has been a while, you may want to brush up on how they function before the start of winter. In fact, you can print out directions and keep them in your glove box just in case.

Foldable Shovel and Safety Absorbent

If you are stuck in a snowstorm and the snow is quickly piling up, you may need a shovel to help dig out your vehicle’s tires and get you back on the road. A foldable shovel does not take up much room and is ideal for this situation.

It does not take much ice to cause traction problems between your car’s tires and the ground. And sometimes you need more than a shovel. Keep a bag of safety absorbent in your car to help with traction. You can also use sand, road salt, or cat litter.

Ice Scraper

Do not be the person out there trying to scrape off your windshield with a CD case or credit card. Throw an ice scraper with a snow brush in your vehicle to keep your windows clear.

Reflective Triangles

During extreme winter conditions, visibility is often greatly reduced. If you become stranded on the side of the road, it is vital you have reflective triangles so that other vehicles are aware of you.


Whether using it to help change a flat tire or signal for help, a flashlight is an invaluable tool during any emergency. Always keep a small LED flashlight with extra batteries in your vehicle’s winter emergency kit.

Cell Phone Car Charger

What are the chances your phone’s battery runs out of juice while you are stranded on the side of the road? Probably good. Keep an extra charger in your kit so you can use your phone to call for help.


Stock a nice supply of waterproof matches and a lighter. You can use them in a pinch for some much-needed warmth. You can also use them to start a fire and signal for help.

Food and Water

If you become stranded, food and water are essential to your survival. Stock bottled water or a large jug of water in your vehicle. Keep some non-perishable food items on hand, such as crackers and nuts, granola bars, jerky, and dried fruit. These items will give you much-needed energy should you be forced to walk and look for help.

Remember to periodically check your items to ensure they have not gone bad and replace them if needed.

Items to Keep You Warm

When temperatures are low, it will not take long for you to really get cold. Staying warm is vital in a survival situation. Stock your kit with a warm hat and gloves, as well as an extra pair or two of socks in case your feet get wet. And keep warm blankets as well.

Stock Your Winter Car Emergency Kit

Our Ready for the Cold page is loaded with the items you need to keep you safe and prepared while navigating the treacherous road conditions this winter.

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