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11 Items You Must Have In Your Winter Emergency Car Kit

Items You Need In Your Car In The Winter

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A Winter Emergency Car Kit should be one of the first things on your to do list once the weather starts to cool down.  It’s always better to be prepared then not. 

Once the snow and ice start to form in the winter, it’s easy to forget how such a pretty scene can be deadly. Everyone traveling in snowy states should be prepared in case they break down, become stuck, or any other reason they might be stranded on the road. Here are 11 items you must have in your winter emergency car kit.

Winter Emergency Car Kit


Anyone driving in areas where snow is common should carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit. In the case of an accident or being stranded for any other reason, it could save both you and your passengers.

What Should Be in My Winter Survival Kit for My Car? 

The following list is in addition to the more common items carried on the road in the winter:

  • Extra dry clothing
  • bottled water and dry foods
  • booster cables

Kit and Roadside Emergency Tips

  • Store your emergency items in the back seat or other area you can access from inside the passenger areas of the car. Severe cold or snow coverage can often make opening your truck difficult if not impossible.
  • Make sure your kit includes everything you may need (and in sufficient quantity to last overnight or longer) so that you can stay with your vehicle. Leaving the scene and attempting to walk in bad winter weather is more dangerous than waiting until morning.
  • When selecting items for your kit: choose function over comfort. You may have a blanket that is soft, but it won’t block out cold as well as a thermal sheet. You may not like the taste of protein bars, but they’ll provide more energy than something like chips or candy.
  • If you have something brightly colored, try to tie to it your antenna so that it can be seen over snow piles and alert anyone passing by.

The following are items that should be in every snowy climate emergency car kit.

1. Compact Snow Shovel

Often you can avoid being stranded simply by having a shovel to dig out a tire stuck in the snow. It can also come in handy to lend assistance to others you find in need of help.

Snow Joe ATJ401M-RED All-Purpose Aluminum Telescoping Compact Utility Shovel, Red


FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool RS

True Temper AutoBoss Emergency Car Shovel

2. Windshield Scraper

If you live in the North or Midwest, you should already have one of these….or three. It’s best to get a model that offers both a scraper and a brush. Some are attached to a mitt so your hand stays warm and dry.


Cool Tool Snow Brush 



Snow Brush & Ice Scraper 


Ice Scraper E’YOBE Windshield Snow Scrapers with Waterproof Glove



3. Weatherproof Flashlight or Lantern

The only thing worse than being stranded on the side of the road in winter – is being stranded in the dark. Make sure your light sources have fresh batteries and always carry extra. Avoid rechargeable or solar lights unless they have a battery backup.


LED Tactical Flashlights


GearLight High Powered LED Flashlight


Hero Beam 2X LED Lantern


4. Crank Powered Emergency Radio

With emergency radios you can avoid batteries completely. Some may also offer solar power, but crank power will be the most reliable for roadside strandings.


ESKY Hand Crank Weather Radio


Houkiper Portable Emergency Weather Radio


Kaito 5-Way-Powered AM/FM Shortwave NOAA Weather Emergency Radio


5. First Aid Kit with Utility Knife

Everyone knows how valuable a first aid kit is and most of us have one at home. But, not everyone remembers to put one in their car. Look for a kit that offers tools for more serious injury (sprains, open wounds) and also includes a utility knife.



174 pcs First Aid Emergency Kit


6. Emergency Blankets and/or Sleeping Bags

Whether you’re just waiting 2 hours for a tow or you’re forced to stay in your vehicle overnight – these thermal blankets will help keep you warm and your body temperature at a safe level.


Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets



S.O. L. Survive Outdoors Longer 90 Perfect Heat Reflective Thermal Blanket


Survivor Series Emergency Sleeping Bag Kit

7. Ice Melt

A good compliment to the snow shovel, ice melt can help you get up inclines that may otherwise have you stranded. It can also serve to enhance the shoveling of snow when you’re stuck.



Scotts Ice Melt Jug


Snow Joe Ice Melt Removal



8. Emergency Flares

Luckily, flares are no longer only fire and sparks. Now you can easily find electronic lights that flash to attract anyone nearby, signal rescue workers, and also warn oncoming traffic of your location.


SlimK 3 Pack LED Road Flares


2 LED Emergency Road Flares 


Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit



9. USB Car Charger

Along with your regular adapter, consider also storing a car phone charger in your Winter Emergency Car Kit that comes with a cord attached just in case you left yours at home. A USB charger is no good if you can’t connect it to your phone.


USB Car Charger Adapter


Samsung Micro USB Charger


Hussell Dual USB Car Charger


10. Emergency Food & Water For Pets

Don’t forget your furry passengers. Cats are more versatile with food so having an extra bag of dry kibble should suffice. For our puppy pals (especially the larger breeds) there are dog meal bars that are perfect for emergency situations. Place a few in your glove compartment along with a water bottle that serves as a drinking bowl.


TurboPup Complete Nutrition Meal Bar


Highway Auto Dog Mug


11. Hand Warmers

Still a favorite in all cold climates and great for a Winter Emergency Car Kit, hand warmers can be invaluable when stuck in the cold. Use them for your hands and feet as needed by simply shaking them to activate the heat for several hours.


HotHands Hand & Toe Warmers

More Tips for Winter Roadside Emergencies

  • Be prepared: Make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full during cold months.
  • During harsh weather or when a storm is expected, stay home if possible. But if you must go out…
  • …be easy to find. Tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
  • Check in with a friend or family member when you are leaving one location, heading somewhere new.
  • Call 911 as soon as you believe you are unable to continue to your home or other safe destination.
  • Don’t try to walk and stay to the side of the road with your vehicle. Do not try to signal traffic while standing in the road.
  • Don’t run your vehicle unless you’ve checked your exhaust pipe. Snow and ice can clog the exhaust and create dangerous fumes inside the car or truck.
  • If you do run the engine for warmth, make sure to crack at least one window. This provides safe ventilation and also allows you to hear if rescue vehicles, plows, etc are in the area.

Planning a winter road trip?  Check out 10 Family Friendly Podcasts for Your Next Roadtrip and 52 Family Road Trip Resources