With winter coming up, driving in the snow is going to be inevitable for many of us. While our hope is that everyone’s vehicle is properly-equipped to handle winter conditions, the fact of the matter is that no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you get stuck. Whether you end up stuck and needing to get yourself free, or you come across someone else who needs help, there are certain supplies you’ll need to have. Read on for our list of supplies every driver should keep in their vehicle this winter.
If you’re stuck in a snowbank, a shovel is going to be your number one tool. Even if you’re not stuck, you might be glad for this tool if a storm hits while you’re at work and you need to get four inches of snow off of your car in the parking lot (just make sure you have a plastic blade if you’re scraping against your vehicle). If you’re short on space, look for a folding shovel, which are designed to be easily stowed in cars.
You should probably have a flashlight in your vehicle all year round, but with the shorter days and extended hours of darkness that come along with winter, it’s a must have. Make sure you also pack extra batteries, or invest in a flashlight that you can recharge by shaking. The last thing you need is to get stuck at night and have your flashlight battery die.
Sand or cat litter:
Sometimes, all you need is some extra grip. Sprinkling sand or cat litter around your tires can help your vehicle gain traction for a few crucial seconds and get off of that snowy or icy patch that’s ruining your day. Another option for reusable traction is a piece of carpet or faux-turf.
Modern tire chains can be put on a vehicle even when it’s stuck, whereas in past years a vehicle often had to be lifted on a jack to put them on. Chains generally stow easily in your trunk or back seat, and are another great way to gain traction when your tired are spinning.
Even if your vehicle isn’t capable of towing, it’s a good idea to have a strap in the back. If you’re stuck, someone with a capable truck or SUV could be just around the corner, but if neither of you has a tow strap, there’s nothing they can do. If you do resort to pulling someone out, or being pulled out, professionals with Akins Dodge Chrysler Jeep advise you to use caution and make sure you’re attaching the strap to tow hooks or directly to the frame on both vehicles. Attaching a strap to the bumpers or body could result in warping the part or even pulling it clean off.
Jumper cables or a jump box:
This won’t exactly help you if you’re stuck in the snow, but it will help if you’re stuck with a dead battery. Cold weather can impact battery life, so winter is the most likely time for your car battery to die. Jumper cables are handy and cheaper, but you need another vehicle to harness energy from. If you think you’re likely to end up stranded on your own, consider an all-in-one jump box.
With winter coming up, chances are either you or someone you know will get stuck at least once. You may not need any of these tools this winter, but if you do, even just once, you’ll be glad you packed them! Take some time in the next week or so to prepare your vehicle for winter, and don’t get stuck with no tools.