Last month, we gave you tips on how to drive safely during the winter. Even if you are taking to the road with extreme caution, it’s still good to have a safety kit in place. Below, we have listed the essential items you should keep in your vehicle for the remaining winter months.
Battery Booster Cables
The electrolyte in a car battery is composed of a sulfuric solution and water. When the two substances are combined and come in contact with a lead plate, they create electricity. If the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the water in the solution freezes, expands, and pushes the positive and negative lead plates together which causes the battery to short.
Because these temperatures are so prevalent in the Heartland, it’s important to keep a set of cables around in case your battery decides to go into hibernation. You should also consider a portable charger. These pocket-sized powerhouses are perfect if you find yourself stranded and don’t have time to wait on a tow truck or the kindness of a stranger.
Canvas towing straps can be a lifesaver if your car skids off into a snow-covered ditch. Simply affix them to the proper part of your vehicle (this will vary based on make and model — be sure to read your owner’s manual), have someone do the same to their car, and you will be out in no time. Also, be sure to find out how much the strap can carry (also listed on the strap).
Food and Water
Always good to have, just in case. Stick to the basics: granola bars, nuts, and rice cakes. If you want to go above and beyond, you might even consider keeping a few tins of a protein high in healthy fats, like tuna. Make sure to have a few bottles of water too.
Scrapers and Shovels
Scrapers should be obvious. Having a clear line of sight out of every window is imperative to safe driving year-round, but its importance rises exponentially during the winter months. It’s also the law in some states.
Shovels are just as useful. Not only can you use them to dig your car out before using the aforementioned tow strap, but they can help clear the area around your tailpipe to ensure that noxious fumes do not find their way into the cabin of your vehicle. Furthermore, consider keeping a small bag of sand to increase traction in the places you’ve cleared.
In addition to the (mostly) winter-specific items listed above, there are a few more items that should be in your safety kit at all times. A flashlight, warning triangles, small fire extinguisher, blanket, and first aid kit are all highly-recommended by AAA. To add a bit of winter flair, consider throwing some warm clothes and hand warmers into the mix.
If you need more helpful tips on driving in winter weather or need assistance getting your vehicle winter-ready, call or come into the closest Inter-Tech Collision Center today!