Driving in winter conditions is part of living in Colorado. Adjusting to icy roads, other drivers, and limited visibility matters, since severe weather can happen from October until well into April. Along with careful driving, making sure that you have a proper winter preparedness kit in your car can help keep you safe.
Keep your vehicle serviced!
This isn’t something that you can put into an actual kit, but it is perhaps the most important advice you can take to be prepared for winter. Check your fluids, including oil, radiator fluid, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and gas. Check your tires, both the tread and the air pressure.
Basic ice scrapers
Always have at least one, but keeping two on hand is a smart idea. This way, if you let someone borrow one, or accidentally leave a scraper somewhere, you won’t find yourself unprepared to deal with an ice-covered car. A good ice scraper will have a sturdy handle, a thick brush, and a thick scraper.
Tire iron and proper spare
Most of us have a tire iron and a spare tire in our cars. Go one better, and know exactly where both are located and how to change a tire by yourself. Spares can actually go flat over time, so check periodically to make sure that you don’t have a useless flat spare.
Having a dead battery is never fun, but having one in winter conditions can be a frightening experience. Keep a good set of jumper cables in your vehicle, and know how to use them.
Cat litter may seem like an odd thing to keep in your car, but it can come in handy if you get stuck on ice. Cat litter or a de-icer can give you just enough traction to get unstuck. A small shovel can also come in handy if you need to move snow or ice away from your tires.
A flashlight with working batteries will probably be something that is surprisingly useful to keep in your car year round. Whether it helps you with a tire change in the dark, or simply finding something that has rolled into the abyss under a seat, a flashlight should be part of your kit. A working headlamp can also be good to keep, either with a flashlight or in place of it.
Simple tool box
Basic tools are important to keep in your car. Several screwdrivers, wrenches, a socket set, pliers, and electrical tape are basics for any tool set. You may never need tools in your car, but if you need them even one time, you will be glad to have a stocked tool box in your kit.
Blankets and extra clothing
Keep a blanket and some warm pieces of clothing in your car. An old jacket, gloves, and a hat can be the difference between life and death if you are stranded in winter weather.
A small fire extinguisher is useful to keep in your car year round. Check and make sure that it is not past its expiration date. Fire extinguishers are like milk – not good after their expiration date!
Food and water
In case you are ever stranded, a gallon of water and food can help keep you safe until help arrives or you can get your car moving again. Keep food that will stay edible, like granola bars or trail mix. Make sure that if you or your family get into the food stash, that you replace it!
First Aid Kit
A travel first aid kit is another item that can be immeasurably useful year round. Antiseptic wipes, bandages, gauze, burn ointment, antihistamines, and ibuprofen are all a good start for a basic first aid kit.
The above items are all excellent components for a winter auto preparedness kit. Keep everything in a container that is easily accessible. Drive safely, and know that being prepared simply keeps you and your family more secure in winter conditions!