Building Your Car’s Winter Survival Kit

Jan 09 2017


If the piercing winter cold isn’t enough to make you cry for summer, think about how awful it would be to be stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night with a broken down car and no supplies. Is that a little scarier than the cold? We think so. Whether you’re in your house and need some emergency supplies in case of a power outage, or on the road, it’s important to have an emergency kit on hand. This time, we’re talking about road emergency preparedness during the cold months.

Why You Need a Kit

While you’re unlikely to be stranded for too long on the side of a major highway, this may not be the case in the wilderness on your way to the family cabin. You can never be too prepared when it comes to Minnesota temperatures. Temperatures frequently drop to single digits and below zero. Don’t get caught without adequate food, water, and tools. Your kit, at a minimum, should last you 72 hours.

Kit Items

This is not an exhaustive list. If you have medications or special dietary needs, plan accordingly. Below is what we feel everyone should have in their emergency car kit.

Car Items

The following items are specifically for the car if you find that your car has broken down during a bad storm or blizzard.

    • a shovel
  • booster cables
  • windshield scraper and broom
  • flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • battery powered radio
  • matches
  • road salt, sand, or kitty litter (for traction)
  • tow, chain, and rope
  • flares and reflectors

Food Items

Every kit needs enough food and water. It is recommended that for each person in the vehicle there be at least 1 gallon of water, per person, per day. Since this is a 72 hour kit, plan accordingly. Below is a list of food items you should have in your kit.

  • water (1 gallon, per person, per day)
  • food (2,000 calories per person, non-perishable items)
  • special dietary items (gluten free, lactose free items)
  • can opener
  • dry foods
  • nuts
  • canned meats
  • dried fruits
  • canned juices
  • granola bars
  • protein bars

Emergency Kit Tips

Here are two things you should consider when choosing which foods to put in your kit and where to store it:

  • Choose small packages of food that can be eaten hot or cold. Make these options as simple as possible.
  • Store your emergency kit in an easily accessible location. If your trunk freezes shut or you get in an accident, you’ll want the kit nearby.

Car Tips

Gas tank empty

It’s not enough to have a complete emergency kit if the car can’t get you where you want to go, as well. Here’s a few tips for before you hit the road.

  • It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough fluids in your vehicle, be it wiper fluid, coolant, or oil. Make sure your car is up to standard.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times, no matter what. With freezing temperatures and storms flaring up constantly, you don’t want to get stuck in a traffic jam or slow conditions with only a quarter of a tank.
  • Keep a warm change of clothes, pair of gloves, and hat in the car at all times. If you get stuck, you may have to do some digging and need extra clothes to stay warm, or a change of clothes for after.

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