Pack your winter car emergency kit


Felicity Knabenbauer

Plush, warm blankets to keep in the trunk of your car

Felicity Knabenbauer, Lifestyle Editor

Around this time of year there are endless news reports of snow-related crashes occurring all over the country during the winter season. One of the worst accidents to happen transpired earlier this month, January 3, on Interstate 95 in Virginia where a crash involving six tractor trailers and snowy conditions led to hundreds being stranded on the highway overnight in freezing temperatures, some longer than 24 hours. This is not an uncommon occurrence in Wisconsin as well, where there is an average of 50,000 vehicle crashes due to snow, ice and slush each year. These crashes result in around 45 deaths and 5,000 injuries every winter. There is a risk we all take when getting behind the wheel in any hazardous weather conditions; however, there are steps we can take to insure safer travels while out on our routes. One of the best methods is keeping a winter emergency kit stashed in your car.

The most substantial risk when stranded out on the Wisconsin roadways is the ever present cold threatening to break through. An essential inside a winter car emergency kit are items to keep you and your vehicle occupants nice and toasty until rescue arrives or the roads clear up. Some of these items are blankets, enough for each person traveling inside the vehicle, hats, gloves, thick coats and snow boots. A quick way to gather heat is to make sure to have a decent stock of hand warmers stashed away as well. These little heat packets will help keep fingers and toes warm in case of emergencies where there may not be enough gas to keep the heat running.

If there will not be help for a number of hours there is a chance during this time you or your passengers will become parched or hungry. Water Bottles freeze easily in low temperatures. One option is to get an insulated bag or cooler and fill that with bottled water. Another idea is to wrap a few bottles inside a blanket for safe keepings. For snacks, non perishables like granola and protein bars are a great option to keep in your kit as well.

There are plenty of other miscellaneous items to bring along in addition to what’s above. Although it may seem bothersome to tote around all these objects, they are a “safe rather than sorry” option to include. Almost everyone who drives in Wisconsin carries an ice scraper and jumper cables but this is a reminder to check if they are still in your vehicle. Some other necessities are a flashlight with batteries, a cell phone car charger, first aid kit, portable shovel for digging out snow, a rain poncho and reflective vest, pocket tool, wet wipes and a tow rope.

If the idea of gathering all these items to throw in a box in the back seat or trunk seems too troublesome there are a variety of emergency car kits on amazon and online to purchase for easy accessibility. They can be small and compactable or bulky, filled to the brim with any item you could possibly conceive, such as road flares and reflective cones.

No one ever truly thinks they will be in these circumstances until they are. It is best to be prepared for the worst so you and your occupants can travel with a clear mind when driving on a snowy day.

To find emergency car kits online check here: