7 Winter Essentials Every Driver Needs

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Winter essentials for your car (Photo: @ollegnik via Twenty20)
If you live somewhere where it’s sunny all year long, you probably don’t think too much about getting your car ready for specific times of the year. But if you live somewhere with harsh winters, then it’s imperative that you prepare your car for the colder months.
Just like you need winter essentials for your body, like sweaters and coats and heaters, you also need winter essentials for your car. Winter car essentials are all the things big and small that you need to make sure that your car can perform its tasks when the snow comes out, and you can be safe the whole time.
Here’s everything you need to have when crafting the perfect winter car essentials kit.

First Aid Kit

Perhaps the most important emergency essential for cars in winter is a first aid kit. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you were to crash or get stuck in a remote area, you wouldn’t be able to walk for help. So you want to have everything you need to take care of yourself for a few hours until help comes.
A basic first aid kit, with things like bandages, anti-inflammatories, gloves, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotics, is critical. If you crash your car, you may need them.

Emergency Kit

Another winter car kit essential is an emergency kit. It’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car at all times, but it’s doubly important to have one during the winter.
A car emergency kit should have things like a basic tool set, a cell phone charger, and a car battery charger or jumper cables. It should also include a flashlight and emergency road flares.

Blanket

A blanket is another item that hopefully you don’t ever need, but it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry. If your car breaks down, crashes, or runs out of gas, you may not be able to turn it on. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to use the heater. Keeping an emergency blanket can help you stay warm if you’re stuck in a turned off car for a few hours when it’s cold out.
Ideally store the blanket somewhere in the car’s cabin, so you can access it without first having to go out into the cold to get to the trunk.

Folding Shovel and Rock Salt

If you live somewhere where it snows, you’ve probably had nightmares about getting stuck in snow, with your tires spinning helplessly. There are a few things you can do to help prepare yourself for that scary situation.
The first is a folding shovel, which comes in a small and easily-packed size, but unfolds when you need to use it. You can use a shovel to remove a lot of the snow around your tires, to help get your car moving.
Rock salt is also a great thing to keep in your car when it’s snowy or icy out. It can melt snow and ice, while also providing traction for your tires. If you don’t have rock salt, you can keep kitty litter in your car. It won’t melt the ice and snow like salt does, but it does provide great traction that can get your wheels moving.

Windshield De-Icing Tools

If you live somewhere with harsh winters, then you’re all too familiar with having to sit in your car for half an hour while you wait for the ice to melt off of your windshield so that you can see out of it.
It’s a good idea to keep tools in your car for de-icing windshields. Not only can it save you time and hassle, but sometimes it’s cold enough that your windshield won’t de-ice, no matter how long you sit with the engine running.
Some windshield de-icer, which you can buy at a hardware store or many grocery stores, is a good first step. It’s best to also get an ice scraper and a snow brush to expedite matters.

Gloves

You never know what you might need to do with your car while in the winter, so packing gloves is a smart idea. You don’t want to have to de-ice your windshield, jump your battery, or shovel the snow around your tires without some protection for your hands. At best, you’ll be uncomfortable, and at worst you’ll do permanent damage to your hands.

Water and Snacks

It’s not likely that you’ll get stuck in your car for a long period of time, but it’s always best to be safe. Because there are more accidents in winter, and because cars can get trapped in snow, it’s more likely for drivers to get stuck in the cold months than in the warm ones. So always keep water in your car, and also a few non-perishable snacks like granola bars or nuts. They can keep you going if you end up stranded.
Stock up on these winter essentials for your car, and you’ll be all set to hit the road when the snow starts falling.