Don’t Get Stranded or Left Out in the Cold in Your Car
by G. Kunkel
Having the essential accessories in your car during the winter season often means the difference between a major and minor travel disaster. Add some mountain driving to the mix and a kit with these 10 essential car accessories during winter is prudent for safe travel.
Always keep some non-perishable food in your car in winter. You never know when or where your car will break down leaving you or your family hungry. If your vehicle gets stuck on the Interstate due to an accident or traffic, it may be hours before you find available food. A box of granola bars or peanut butter snack crackers can keep for several months and are essential car accessories in winter. Energy bars work great too.
Staying warm is essential for survival in winter. Unfortunately, even the most well maintained car could break down. An emergency blanket or wool blanket are essential car accessories in winter that will help you stay alive until help arrives. During weather-related highway closures, this essential car accessory can provide bedding material in emergency Red Cross shelters. A winter rated sleeping bag also works well.
A flashlight is another essential winter car accessory. The sun sets early in winter and darkness seems to invite car troubles or the need to find small objects in the car. A flashlight with spare batteries can come in handy when changing a flat tire, adding oil or windshield washer fluid under the car hood, and when trying to read a map inside the car.
Winter rated windshield washer fluid
During a winter storm, splash back from other cars can quickly make a windshield impossible to see through. This is not the time to run out of winter rated windshield washer fluid. This essential winter car accessory will keep your windshield from becoming coated with a sheet of ice. While summer rated fluid and water can work in an emergency, it can freeze into a solid block of ice in the reservoir. One can add a winter windshield additive to the reservoir to prevent freezing.
A small snow shovel is a winter car accessory that can help you in emergencies and help fellow travelers. Skiers, snowboarders, and mountain travelers know the importance of this winter car essential. A shovel can help dig a parking place out of a snowbank in the morning at the ski resort and it can be used to dig the car out at the end of the day. A shovel can also be used to dig out stuck cars and car occupants who have suddenly been buried in an avalanche. Colorado mountain residents view a shovel as a vital winter car accessory.
Spare headlight bulbs
Fluctuating temperatures in fall and winter make a spare headlight bulb an important car accessory in winter. Cold weather and temperature changes invite headlight bulbs to burn out at the worst times. Driving with only one headlight at night in a blinding snowstorm is one of those challenges best avoided. A spare headlight bulb can be purchased at many big box stores and can then be safely stored in the glove compartment until it is needed. It’s not if but when you’ll need to use this essential winter car accessory.
Ice scraper & snow brush
Your car is buried in snow and ice and you need to get to work. This is when an ice scraper and snow brush earn their title as essential car accessories in winter. A snow brush can remove inches to several feet of snow to expose the front and rear windshield. The ice scraper can then help to remove any ice that is attached to the windshield. Turning on defrosters and windshield heaters can help speed up the process. An ice scraper should be the first winter car accessory placed in the car when the weather gets cold. In an emergency, a credit card can remove some ice.
Outdoor winter clothes
Outdoor winter apparel is an essential accessory one should always keep in the car during the winter season. A warm waterproof jacket, waterproof gloves, and hat should be available for every occupant in the vehicle. They’ll keep everyone warm on the walk to and from the car. If the car breaks down or gets stuck, they will keep everyone warm until help arrives.
As car batteries age they become more susceptible to dying in cold weather. You or a fellow traveler may experience the joy of a dead battery in the parking lot. Jumper cables are an essential car accessory in winter to help give someone a jump or to help another motorist give your car a jump. While many ski resorts offer free jumps to their patrons, having your own jumper cables could prevent a long wait.
Spare quart of oil
Having your engine oil light come on in the middle of nowhere is not a good thing. In winter, an oil thirsty engine should be taken care of immediately or your engine could overheat and seize. Keeping a spare quart of oil in the car’s emergency kit is an essential car accessory in winter and in summer.
Keeping these 10 essential accessories in your car in winter will help you be prepared for many of the woes of winter driving. By keeping them together in a plastic storage tub you’ll be able to quickly find them and contain any potential leaks.
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