8 Must-Haves for Winter Driving

The Yuletide season is here. And along the endless decoration projects and piling of holiday presents are the hassle trips to the store. It’s especially annoying when you have to drive in the snow. Aside from the cunningly slippery road, low temperatures can be really hard on your car too. Are there ways to lessen the trouble of driving in winter?

Snowfall causes much frustration and inconvenience for a lot of people. In some states, the snow can pile up to six feet high, crippling goods transport for business and leaving hundreds of motorists stranded on the road. But most of the time, the trouble is in navigating through the ice with lesser visibility in subfreezing temperatures, causing little mishaps and unexpected car breakdowns.

While weather warnings help, it’s certainly better to be prepared in case you get caught out by this all-too-common wintry nightmare. To help you out, here’s a list of the things you need to keep in your car when driving in the winter.

An Emergency Phone with Extra Battery

If you live in well-populated areas, it’s fairly easy to find help in the event that you may need roadside assistance. However, if you’re taking low-traffic routes and your car breaks down for some reason, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to holler and get help as soon as possible.

A dead phone battery, in this case, can be a real bugger. So make sure you always have an extra cell phone reserved in your car for these situations. Or you can just opt for an extra battery to serve the purpose.

An Ice Scraper or Deicer

When snowfall is heavy or temperatures are at an all-time low, your view can be easily obstructed by the buildup of ice on the glass windows, especially after you’ve come out of parking or at a standstill.

Even when the weather seems clear and fair by the time you go out for a drive, the weather can be very unpredictable. Having excellent visibility on the road is crucial when driving in winter particularly because daylight can be dimmer and usually shorter.

After you have manually removed all the ice from your car’s windscreen, have an extra screen wash handy to make sure you won’t have to do the deicing process again and again and you’ll have a breezy ride throughout your trip despite the chilly temperatures.

A Shovel

Sliding tires are such a very common snow-driving phenomenon that it’s practically common sense to have it first on your list when preparing your winter driving kit. Tires skid off ice, so it’s easy to derail from your course no matter how careful you drive.

When you find yourself stuck in a snowbank, attempting to drive directly out can just make things worse. Instead, dig out the tires from the icy situation with a shovel. A shovel is also handy when passing through a section of the road blocked by snow, and one shovel should not cost you more than $30.

Flashlight, LED Flashers, or Flares

There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the road in the dark. If you don’t have an illuminating device with you, it can be difficult for people to know you’re there, causing more trouble than you’re already in.

Make getting help easier by stocking up on flashlights, LED flares, four-way flashers, or reflective triangles. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries too.

Flares may seem a bit paranoid, but they’re a very practical device for heavy snowfall. Having this important winter driving kit helps motorists prevent collisions and makes it easier for the towing service to find the vehicle in trouble.

Warm Blankets

Store coats, scarves, gloves, and a blanket on the boot of your car for emergencies. In case your car breaks down, it can take a while before help arrives. In this time, it’s enough for the cold to get you.

If you frequently travel with kids, the need becomes even more important. Yes, your car’s heating system offers a welcome shelter against the cold, but if you don’t have enough fuel, this supplementary stash keeps you snug and cozy while waiting for assistance.

Nonperishable Goodies

Another necessity for keeping yourself warm and comfortable when stuck in a blizzard is the food. You probably won’t have to wait for days to get help, but keeping yourself well-fed helps fend off the cold and gives you the necessary burst of energy to stay active during the length of the emergency.

You don’t need days’ worth of ration. Just a few bars and sugary drinks with electrolytes are enough to keep you nourished and energized. Choose nonperishable munchies with long expiry dates. Energy drinks have less tendency to freeze than water does due to their unique chemical composition.

First Aid Kit

Be sure to keep your first aid supply well stocked with dressings, plasters, sterile wipes, scissors, and some nitrile powder-free gloves. Your first aid kit allows you to attend to minor injuries before full health assistance arrives. Remember that your first aid kit supply must be carried the whole year round, not just in winter.

Jumper Cables

Subzero temperatures are especially harsh on your car, so it’s not a surprise that many cars stall during the cold seasons. This common issue is usually caused by misfires in the battery or thickened oil in the engine—usual problems that can be fixed by zapping up your car battery back to life.

So make jumper cables handy. You never know when your car can act up. Having them in your car when the situation calls for them can even save you some dollars on towing service. Ask the assistance of a passer-by or another driver if you need help.

Additional Tips

  • Don’t remove your fender flares. Instead, have your inner fenders rust-proofed. The salt and muck can build up inside your fender flares, causing damage to the metal interiors. Fender flares protect your car and other motorists from debris and dirt. In place of removal, the better option is to upgrade.
  • Always drive with a full tank in winter. It’s a great hassle to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere especially when you’re also using it up to keep a snug, heated temperature within your car’s interior.

Final Word

Indeed, driving in winter is a headache, but the trick is to prepare well. There’s a preventive action for every possibility that a situation can go south. Knowing them well and putting them into action is the best way to mitigate stressful winter nightmares on the road.

Photo URL: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/12/01/19/54/red-vintage-car-1876035_1280.jpg

Author: Brandon Park