11 Things You Need to Keep in Your Car During the Winter

Here’s a run-down of the items to keep in your car in case of a winter-weather emergency.
Related To:
Snowy road during the winter.

Tips for Traveling in Winter Weather

Traveling on a snowy road during the winter.

Photo by: 2015 ©Emily Fazio

2015, Emily Fazio

Make sure your vehicle is properly stocked if you’re traveling through snowy or treacherous conditions this winter. 

  1. Extra gloves and an extra hat. I admittedly leave the house without either most days. If I were to get stuck or simply need to clear snow accumulation on the windows, having a pair handy would make things more comfortable.
  2. Brushes and ice scrapers. I recommend the kind of brush with extendable handle, so you can reach the snow on top of the roof of the car or truck easily. This will prevent white-out conditions for those who drive behind you by clearing that snow before you hit the road!
  3. A flashlight. Always handy.
  4. An extra gallon of windshield washer fluid. Because your tank will inevitably run dry at the most inconvenient time.
  5. A small shovel has come in handy for me more than once. From clearing out snow that settles deep around cars in parking lots, to using it for clearing away snow that jams in your wheel wells, it’s a nice to have. If you get stuck and want to keep the car running, use it to keep the tailpipe cleared for exhaust. (If you come across someone who is stuck, it’s a nice tool to give them, as well, since small shovels are inexpensive – less than $10)
  6. An extra set of floor mats. I haven’t needed to try this myself yet, but I’ve heard keeping an inexpensive set of floor mats on hand is useful for generating traction beneath tires if you get stuck. Place them in front of the tire, and inch your way out of a snowdrift.
  7. Jumper cables. Another nice-to-have for helping other drivers. If you’ve ever had a dead battery, you can probably relate to how happy you are when someone offers you a jolt.
  8. Extra power source. An extra source for charging your phone is something you should consider, rain, snow or shine. Keep an extra USB charge cord for it on hand too. Some of the newer power sources have built-in flashlights, and others even have enough power to jumpstart your car.
  9. An extra blanket. We’ve all heard about cars getting stuck and then buried by plows – you never know. Be prepared for the worst case scenario.
  10. Flares. Know how to use them too, so you can station them around your vehicle if you’re stranded.
  11. Lip moisturizer. This may seem like an eye-roller, but one day you will be so happy when you remember you have that extra ChapStick in your console on a -10-degree windchill day.

For more tips on safety:

Next Up

7 Ways to Whip the Winter Blues

Don't let the cold weather get you down. Find ways to refresh your home and all your senses with color, sound and smell.

5 Ways to Brighten Your Home During a Dreary Winter

Don't let the dark, cold days of winter get you down. Check out these easy ways to freshen your decor to help keep your home sunny and warm.

Tips for Cold-Weather Travel (With Kids!)

Family road trips require special planning and patience. Layer on the unpredictability of winter weather, bulky layers, and the need for special automotive preparedness, and there’s so much more to consider.

Keep Your Landscape Safe From Winter Salt

To keep your landscape healthy in the winter it's good to know how rock salt affects your plants.

3 Houseplants With Lovely Winter Flowers

Rosemary, cyclamen and holiday cactus are houseplants that brighten winter with cheery blooms.

How to Make Your Own Windshield De-Icer

Check out the best method for de-icing a car windshield, plus learn how to make de-icer from simple household ingredients.

Summer Health and Safety Tips for Your Pet

As the weather heats up, make sure your pets are safe and happy.

5 Ways to Survive Your Snow Day

Don't get bored on a snow day. Here a few suggestions on how to use the extra time wisely or just have fun.

10 Ways to Banish Winter Boredom

Entertaining and occupying kids during long winter days isn't easy, but it can be fun. We have lots of ideas to get you started.