Your car battery died in a parking lot late at night. You clipped a curb hidden by snow and got a flat tire. You ran out of gas on a country road. It doesn’t matter what the situation is—finding yourself with a broken-down car in the middle of winter is a potentially deadly predicament to be in. If you don’t act fast, you could face frostbite or worse. That’s why every vehicle should be equipped with a winter car emergency kit in Idaho.
An emergency winter kit is one of those things you hope you never need, but will rejoice over having if the situation ever turns dire. It should contain everything you’d need to survive the winter elements in your broken-down car for 12 to 24 hours, if not longer. Here’s a quick snapshot of what to include as you build yours:
- Thermal blankets: Have at least two thermal blankets handy, for you and a passenger. If you travel with your family or friends often, pack enough blankets for each person. Make sure they’re thermal, too. Thermal blankets reflect heat back to the body, better trapping it and keeping you warm for longer periods of time.
- Flashlights: A flashlight is a useful tool in a pinch. It can help you get a view of your surroundings in the dark or be used to signal someone off in the distance. Don’t forget to pack a few spare batteries!
- Road flares: When you really need to get someone’s attention, road flares do the trick. Used with cones, they’re also a great tool for blocking off your vehicle on a bend or curve, where other drivers may not see you right away.
- Food and water: Pack non-perishable snacks that you can eat for a few days if you need to. Nuts, granola bars and beef jerky are all good examples—they’re high in protein and fiber, with long expiration dates. For water, pack six to 12 bottles. If you need to drink them in the middle of winter, warm them with your body heat or a hand warmer.
- Manual charger: Everyone has a smartphone these days. Unfortunately, lithium ion batteries don’t perform well in cold weather and will drop to a zero charge fast if not kept warm. Having a manual crank charger on hand will help you restore your battery so you can keep calling for help.
- Cat litter: Most often, the reason people get stuck in winter is because their tires spin on ice or snow. Cat litter can provide quick traction, springing your vehicle free so it can get back on the road. As a bonus, it can also weigh down your trunk for better weight distribution on icy roads!
- First aid: You never know when an injury might occur, and in winter, the probability is higher than ever. Pack a first aid kit with all the essentials and be ready in case disaster strikes.
Most items in a winter car emergency kit in Idaho cost only a few bucks, but could save your life in the right situation! If you don’t have a kit already, start building one and hope you never need to use it. If you already have one, make sure it has these essential items and anything else you might need!