In an earlier post this winter, I wrote about three survival gadgets that everyone should store in their vehicles during the coldest months of the year. Let’s now turn to the basics.
Here are five often-forgotten items that everyone should store in their car, truck or SUV during winter:
5. Light sources.
Basically, the nightmare scenario that we’re preparing for is the most commonly experienced during the winter.
The cold has a way of freezing the life out of our car batteries (jumper cables being a given addition to this list). The cold also tends to result in the loss of friction – that is, the force of physics that cars depend on to keep the wheels on the road. Hence is why I recommend adding a work lantern with an attached magnet. That way, you won’t be fumbling in the long winter’s night while trying to get your car back on the road again.
And in the event that there’s no possible way of driving out of that snow bank, I’d also recommend a tactical flashlight with SOS signaling capabilities.
4. First aid.
Simply put, one sheet of ice can put us in the ER on a normal day. Besides, in the event that you find yourself in a survival situation, the events leading up to such a scenario are often the same ones that make a first-aid kit necessary in the first place (such as a black-ice-caused car accident).
3. Emergency communication.
Let’s play out a particular scenario for a moment…
Pretend your vehicle has slid into a ditch, but you also happen to be on a road that tends not to see much traffic — especially in this weather. And so, you sit in your (now stationary) metal shelter with wheels, wondering what to do next. Of course, you’d phone for help, but you’ve got a grand total of zero bars to work with, so that’s out of the question. Should you walk for help? How low will temps reach tonight? Will this lull in snowfall hold until you make it to assistance?
These gaps in weather intelligence info can be alleviated with a simple pocket weather radio, since you’d be able to hear real-time weather broadcasts as the storm unfolds.
I’d also recommend keeping at least a mini CB radio on hand, which can run on the adapter to a cigarette lighter power supply. Not only could you tune in to CH9 (emergency channel), but you’d even be able to communicate to nearby CB operators … who might just be kind enough to alert emergency personnel to your present predicament. At which point, set your flashlight to SOS-mode and await the cavalry.
2. Chains, n’ such.
Perhaps one of THE most obvious additions to your winter emergency vehicle stash would be the appropriately sized cables/chains for your tires. At least in my own experience, I’ve seen a Saturn SL2 rip through two feet of road powder with chains, while the 4×4 Jeep I was in remained stuck. A humbling experience, I do admit.
I’d also recommend adding other tire-traction items, such as traction mats. You also might want to purchase a traction “boot,” which are these ingenious tabs that clamp to the wheel and dig into the snow like a cleat.
1. Things that make you warm.
Last (and certainly not least), make sure you’ve got a change of the warmest possible clothing you own (that you don’t mind storing in your vehicle indefinitely and you use only for emergencies). In this instance, you might not necessarily have to concern yourself with moisture and water resistance, since you’ll be staying inside the vehicle. However, I would still NOT consider cotton materials an option. Cotton is just horrible for winter apparel, since even the slightest amount of sweating can result in chills … and chills are a precursor to hypothermia. I’d recommend wool materials. Quite frankly, I will always recommend wool (or smart fleece.)
And while we’re at it, you might as well do your due diligence and equip your ride with a polar fleece thermal blanket. If you’re going to be stuck inside a cold metal box, this will at least keep your body heat to yourself.
What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below: