Create a Car Emergency Kit for Wintertime

Earlier this week we talked about safety while driving in winter conditions. Now, let’s take it a step further. What if a snow storm, an accident or your car breaking down leaves you stuck in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard for a day or more? Are you prepared for something like that? When it comes to planning for the worst, nobody expects you to keep a surgical kit in your car, but a basic emergency supplies kit should include:

  • A 30-foot cord to use as homing line when you must exit the vehicle
  • Tow cables or chains
  • Road flares or reflective triangles
  • At least two blankets or sleeping bags
  • Basic tools - at least a shovel
  • An ice scraper
  • Sand, non-clumping cat litter or other grit in a plastic milk carton for better tire traction
  • A first aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a long time
  • Food items containing protein, such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener; small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • An AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child

Use an empty three-pound coffee can or any similar container with a plastic cover to store the following items:

  • Small candles and matches
  • Small, sharp knife and plastic spoons
  • Red bandanna or cloth
  • Pencil and paper
  • Large plastic garbage bag
  • Safety pins
  • Whistle
  • Snacks such as: raisins in small packets, semi-sweet chocolate in pieces for sharing, miniature candy bars, chewing gum, wrapped hard candies, food bars etc.
  • Cell phone charging USB cord or adapter to plug into lighter
  • Plastic flashlight and spare batteries. Reverse batteries in the flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout. Don’t forget to warm up the batteries before using them.

When severe winter weather threatens, store safety items in the passenger compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut.

Before you leave home, be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full. If you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, switch on your hazards, call for help and wait until it arrives. When you talk with authorities:

  • Provide information on your location, condition of all persons in the vehicle and the problem you are experiencing.
  • Follow the given instructions; you may be told to stay where you are and wait for rescuers.
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
  • If you must leave your vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination. Place the piece of paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.

Always remember that adequate preparation can help keep you safe even under the worst weather conditions. Be prepared, be safe!


PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more.