This winter, Minnesotans have lived up to their reputation for withstanding cold weather. Last month was declared the coldest January in thirty years, and the seventeenth coldest winter on record. In these conditions, lack of preparation can lead to devastating consequences. It is more important than ever for drivers to prepare for worst-case scenarios. One way to ensure safety is by keeping your car stocked with emergency supplies. Below is a list of items we recommend you keep in your trunk this season.
Note: we recommend certain items be kept in your car all year round, such as jumper cables, an extra cell phone charger, a first aid kit, water bottles, and dried foods.
- Flashlight. The short days of winter increase your likelihood of being stranded in the dark. Don't get stuck on the side of the road without a source of light. We recommend an LED flashlight.
- Snow shovel. If you are snowed in or stuck in a snow bank, you will be glad to have a shovel on hand. An inexpensive version works just fine.
- Cat litter. If your car gets stuck in the snow, spread some of this around your tires for extra traction. Sand works too, but cat litter is easier to find in your local supermarket.
- Wool blanket. Whether you're in a crisis situation or simply need to warm up during your commute to work, a blanket is convenient to have on hand. One made of wool material is sure to be sturdy and warm.
- Hand warmers. Commonly used by hikers and skiers, hand warmers are air-activated packets that begin working once opened. They are available in packs of forty and deliver ten hours of heat. If you are stuck on the side of the road, this product will warm you up in no time.
- Scraper with brush: Windows covered in slush and ice makes for a dangerous commute. In the winter months, you might park your car in the morning and find it covered in snow by lunchtime. Even worse, you could be caught in an unexpected blizzard. Protect yourself by keeping a scraper with a brush in your car:
- Flashers. In an emergency situation, these battery-powered lights will serve to alert other drivers that you are in need. Flashers work for hours and are especially useful during the dark, short days of winter. Make sure you have several sticks stored in your car in case of an emergency.
- Extra winter apparel. During below-zero temperatures, as little as five minutes of exposed skin can result in frostbite. Keeping extra hats, gloves, and scarves in your car is a smart way to prevent this from happening.
- Weatherproof mats. In the winter, there's no avoiding the accumulation of snow on the bottoms of your boots. Protect your car's interior with heavy-duty, weatherproof foot mats.
- De-icer fluid. This product reduces the adherence of ice and snow. Its technology is designed to provide you greater visibility when driving in winter conditions. During the colder months, it should replace your windshield washer fluid.
These products will aid in a quick resolution if you are ever stranded, in an auto accident, or simply need to warm up during your commute. If you have been in one or more of these situations, you know how frightening it can be. The right tools can save you from being a victim of harsh weather conditions. Prepare now, and you'll be thankful later.