Preparing a winter car safety kit is an essential piece in the overall project of preparing your vehicle for the winter season (link). Other winter car preparation steps include installing winter tires (and you’re claiming the winter tire insurance discount), ice–ready car wipers, and ensuring de-icing windshield washer fluid is topped up.
Emergencies can happen to even the safest of people. Given how harsh our winters can be, we think it is prudent to plan for the unplanned.
Many years ago, I was driving down a country road after a family gathering. It was a road I have traveled many times in my life. It was one of the coldest nights of the year. I stopped my vehicle at a stop sign and when I hit the gas to go, the car just shut down. It would not turn back on. I was in an area without cell reception, and no other vehicles were coming by. Should you ever find yourself in such a predicament, I hope this helps you prepare.
When planning for the ultimate winter safety essentials kit, it is helpful to separate risks into categories. Categories include family wellbeing, in-car essentials, getting unstuck essentials, and alert essentials.
To start, we suggest getting a sturdy clear plastic container, so items are easy to be seen and sorted through on the road. Not everything will fit in the winter car safety kit. Prioritizing putting in the kit what you will need first – like warm clothing – is essential.
Family Wellbeing Essentials
- Warm clothing including mittens, toques, blanket, or sleeping bag. The space-saving idea is to utilize a sleeping bag made for backcountry hiking. These are very warm, lightweight, and pack into small containers well.
- First-aid kit including band-aids, wipes, gauze, cream, and medical wrap (see first-aid kit checklist)
- Non-perishable, high-energy foods like granola bars, canned nuts, and similar food items.
- Rain ponchos
- Hand-warmers and heat packs
- Bottled water (remember to check if frozen before leaving)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Items like duct tape, swiss army or multi-purpose tools, and other things can be handy depending on your situation.
- Windshield washer fluid
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Jumper cables
- A spare tire and tire changing kit
Getting Unstuck Essentials
- Foldable snow shovel
- Bag of sand for traction (or non-clumping kitty litter)
- Tow strap (bonus item)
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Solar-powered charging device for the phone (if possible, place on the back window dash, so it gains a charge through the day. For added safety, you can tape or velcro down to keep the device in place.)
- Battery backup charging device for phone
Again, the hope is you will never need to use anything in this kit. You will, however, be happy knowing you’re well prepared.
We are also happy to answer any questions you may have about insuring your car for Canadian winters.
To safe and happy winter travels!