Depending on where you live, winter is in full swing. For many people, that means a lot of snow, frigid temperatures, and icy roads. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or you’re new behind the wheel, you undoubtedly already know how important it is to drive safely in snowy and icy conditions. Staying safe on the road in winter is crucial.
But, being a good driver in inclement weather is only half the battle.
Sometimes, it’s not about how well you drive, it’s about how prepared you are. You could be one of the best drivers in the world and still get into an accident, or hit an icy patch of road and end up in a ditch.
Winter can also be hard on your car, so it’s not uncommon to experience trouble with it starting or breaking down on you.
With all of that in mind, it’s important to have the right supplies with you in winter. Keeping these key items in your car all season long will ensure you’re as safe as possible if anything were to happen to you or your vehicle.
1. A Portable Phone Charger
You might already have a phone charger in your car, but if the battery dies (which isn’t uncommon in the cold), that charger isn’t going to work. So, make sure to have a portable/battery-powered charger on hand at all times. If your phone dies or you’re going to be “stranded” for a while, you will need a way to contact someone in order to get to safety.
A portable charger will work even when your car doesn’t since they are typically powered by smaller batteries that you can insert at any time. Having one in your glove compartment will give you peace of mind knowing you’ll never have to be without a charged phone on the road.
2. A Shovel
Most people have an ice scraper in their car to brush away snow from the windows or occasionally chip away at any ice that may have formed.
But, sometimes that’s not enough.
If your car gets stuck in snow or even if you can’t back out of your own driveway, a shovel can come in handy. It can help to dig out your tires from any snow that has built up around them, or even snow that has compacted and is hard to back out of. Getting stuck in a snowbank isn’t impossible, even if you have 4-wheel drive or a large vehicle. Having a shovel on hand – even a small one, can get you out of a stressful situation quickly.
3. A Bag of Sand
Having a bag of sand (or even a bag of cat litter) is another great way to get your car “unstuck” from an icy situation. By sprinkling sand or litter just underneath and behind your tires, you can help to create some traction with the treads.
Even just a little bit of traction over the slippery snow and ice can make a difference, and it can get your tires through that patch to get them “unstuck”. It’s easy to keep a bag of sand in your trunk, and it will also help to weigh your car down so you’re less likely to slide around on icy roads.
4. Hazard Triangles
In many places across the world, it tends to get darker earlier in the winter. Plus, most days are cloudy, dreary, and overcast. Add in some snow or sleet, and it can be very difficult to see when you’re on the road.
The last thing you want is to be pulled over with car trouble and be nearly invisible to other drivers until they’re too close.
So, it’s a good idea to either have hazard triangles or LED lights of some kind in your car. They can make it easier for other drivers to see you from a distance, so they won’t run into your car, and they will know to avoid the scene. It’s also a way to show others that you need help, so someone with car knowledge can stop and get you out of whatever jam you might be in.
5. Blankets and Extra Clothes
About 70% of winter injuries occur in an automobile. Whether you get injured in an accident or not, you can still sustain injuries even if your car is simply broken down and stranded. It doesn’t take long for frostbite to set in and for the cold to affect other parts of your body, too.
So, it’s crucial to always be prepared with blankets and warm clothes in your car. No one wants to think about being stranded in the cold for any length of time. But, if it does happen you’ll want to be sure to remain as warm as possible. Having multiple layers is the best way to do that when the heat in your car isn’t working.
6. Snacks and Water
Another thing you don’t want to be without if your car gets stuck or stranded is something to eat and drink. You might not be left alone for too long, but knowing you have something that will sustain you can make a big difference in your morale. In the extreme chance that you are stranded for a few days, those snacks and water can give you the energy you need to stay warm, stay alert, and keep trying to get help.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to be prepared in the winter when you’re on the road. But, you may want to consider a vehicle that allows you to keep everything safely packed. If you’re looking for a safe winter vehicle with some storage space, feel free to browse area car lots or look online at places like Allen Hyundai. Driving in the winter requires responsibility, but you shouldn’t feel nervous because the car you’re driving isn’t safe.
Keep these tips in mind as you travel this winter, whether you’re only going to-and-from work, or you’re making longer trips on dangerous roads. Having a few basic supplies can be extremely helpful in any situation.
Photo Credit: Land Rover