I got stuck in my own driveway this winter…..grrrr. Only a few feet from my garage where I would be nice, toasty and dry. But no . . . I. Got. Stuck. Seriously, all I would have needed was some sand or cat litter in my car and I could have gotten out of it by myself.
One good thing came from me being stuck – it could have been worse and now I can get my act together and put together a decent, possibly life saving, EMERGENCY WINTER CAR KIT.
The container is important. It will represent you and your needs. Do you need a large one? small? or do you want to purchase a custom made one? Does it need to be soft thermal or a hard cooler? Just remember that you will want to leave the “DO NOT REMOVE” container in your car all winter (& possible switch it out- for the summer as well). Wiebke used a soft medium sized thermal container and I just went with a trusty cardboard box. One that i can stick in the back in a corner neatly boxed.
Six Basic Items
After much research we found that there are six basic (or core) items you need in order to be prepared for emergencies.
- Kitty Litter
The What & The Why
Kitty Litter (or sand if you prefer), doesn’t have to be an expensive brand (I actually prefer the cheaper brands) which you can pick up for a buck or two. Kitty Litter can be used to help you get out of situations where your car may be stuck in the snow or on ice. When you sit in the snow and spin your tires without traction this can make the area too slick for the tires to find traction. The Kitty Litter (or sand) could provide just enough traction thrown under the tire, for the tires to get a grip and pull your car out.
Water is important to sustain life or in other words, we cannot live without water. If you are in a stranded situation you can use the water to drink and stay hydrated, make a cup-of-soup, tea or hot cocoa (if you also pack it), clean wounds, or replenish a radiator that may have ran out of fluid. To learn how to keep water from freezing check out the Survival Mom article On How to Keep Emergency Water in Your Vehicle Unfrozen During the Winter.
A Blanket is a necessity to staying warm and dry. Wiebke likes a wool blanket and I prefer a microfiber blanket as I have found them to retain heat. The reason they retain heat is because of the tightly knit fabric. You can use a blanket to cover you and stay warm within your own body heat longer or if you get wet because you tried to get yourself out of being stuck in the snow, you can use the blanket to change out of your wet clothes.
A Candle can be used to provide warmth, light, or as a possible heating element if you include a vessel safe to heat in (I included a ceramic coffee cup in mine). In addition, you will want to make sure you have a fire safe container to place the candle in. I like the jar candles as they are all inclusive and if needed I can place a fireproof cup/can on top to heat.
Lighter – This one is kind of obvious as you will need something to light the candle. You could use matches as well.
Food is a necessity and distraction against hunger. Ideally, you will want to pack high protein energy food/snacks that will hold up to freezing temperatures. But, if your like me, I am lucky to have snacks healthy or not that will weather a freeze. Some ideas include, but are not limited to: granola bars, chips, cookies, raisins, mini candy bars, those crackers with peanut butter or pack some peanut butter and crackers separately. You get the idea.
Now you could just stop at the basics, but if you have a family or travel a lot you may want to customize some extra items for your Winter Emergency Car Kit. I included in mine a book to read (my distraction if I am stuck), those little nifty hand warmers, a portable shovel (if I get stuck more than my kitty litter can handle) plus I can take it camping, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, tooth brush/paste kit, and a ceramic coffee mug.
Seriously, this kit is very easy to put together. You probably have all the items in your home already. It doesn’t matter how you create your very own Winter Emergency Car Kit, the point is that once you get it into your car you will be prepared for winter driving. Just remember this could possible save your life and those of your loved ones, but at the very least it could provide a distraction while waiting for a tow truck or rescue.
Warmer Weather Emergency Car Kit
When warmer weather comes to your area remember to upgrade your kit. You will want to refresh your food and water supply. Possibly change out your candle if it is a loose one as they can melt to a blob in a warm car. I, personally have a candle in a glass container with a lid to serve me in all seasons. Instead of hand warmers you might want to make a change to a battery operated fan. Instead of hot coca try changing it to some instant flavored beverage like Gatorade, Crystal Light or Kool-aid. I believe you are getting the idea. Make it yours for whatever season you find yourself in.
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Love & Hugs,