What to carry in your vehicle during winter weather

hen the calendar hits the winter months, driving becomes a risky proposition for any vehicle owner. Rain and snow create slick roads that generally lead to more accidents. Families taking winter vacations may become stranded in cold, isolated areas after an accident or car failure. Being prepared for an emergency is essential when planning to drive in the winter. Keeping a handful of necessities in your car can really be a lifesaver.

Tools
It is always a good idea to have a basic tool kit in your car, but in winter months, the need increases. At the very least, you should have the tools needed to change a tire. Simply changing a tire allows you to drive to a safer, more secure shelter. A wrench to tighten loose bolts also may come in handy. Carry an ice scraper with a brush to keep all windows clear, as maximum visibility is critical when driving in harsh winter conditions.

Lights
Lights, including flashlights and flares, increase your visibility during winter months. If your car breaks down, flares should be set up behind your vehicle to alert oncoming drivers to your presence. A flashlight allows you to see what you are doing during a car repair. Additionally, if a breakdown should require an overnight stay, flashlights give you much needed visibility. Always keep extra batteries in your car should a replacement be needed.

First-Aid Kit
With more accidents in winter months, the chance of injury while driving also increases. Bandages, aspirin, splints, anti-bacterial ointment and gauze are some essential items that should be in any first-aid kit. Familiarize yourself with how and when to use each product so that in case of winter emergency, you are prepared to treat an injury.

Dried Food and Water
If a winter accident turns into a situation where you are stranded, food and water will be essential to survival. Dried foods, such as beef jerky, Ramen noodles, granola bars and canned ham, make the best foods to keep in your car, as they will last longer than perishables. Water should be kept in non-freeze containers, as plastic water bottles can freeze and explode in severely cold temperatures.

Winter Clothes and Blankets
Warmth should be at the forefront of your mind when traveling in the winter. When a car breaks down, a potentially long stay in the cold could be on the horizon. Extra sweaters, long pants and blankets should be kept in your car to combat the freezing temperatures outside.

Shovel and Tow Rope
If your car becomes stuck in a snow bank, two essential items can lead to its freedom. A shovel clears snow lodged around the tires of your car and creates a path to drive your vehicle. A tow rope connected from the front of your car to the back of a helper vehicle can pull you to safety. The quicker you get back on the road, the quicker you can find sufficient shelter at your destination.

(eHow)

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