How to Build Your Own Emergency Car Kit
Winter is a great time to hit the road and do some travelling in Northeastern Ontario. Our snowy winters are a beautiful thing, there are a ton of outdoor activities and cultural events to experience, plus you can often find great deals on winter lodges and resort accommodations.
But, if you’re planning to do some winter road-tripping or travelling, there are a few extra pieces of gear you should always have in your car! While the vast majority of trips will be uneventful, you never know when a highway closure, flat tire, or another unexpected event could cause you to halt on your chosen route.
For the best and safest travels, make sure to check the weather and highway conditions before departure, plan your route, let someone know where you’re going, and make sure you have your emergency car kit on hand just in case! For ease of storage, try keeping all your emergency items together in an easily accessible box or bag in your back seat or trunk. In no particular order, start with…
Your Warmest Winter Gear
You don’t have to wear it in the car, but it’s wise to ensure that your warmest winter coat, mittens, hat, and scarf are accessible to you in case of emergencies. For good measure, throw an extra pair or two of socks into your kit as well.
Non-Scented Candles & Matches
While your triple-wicked scented candle that smells like lilac, spruce, or candy cane may make your house smell amazing, choose the plain, non-scented variety for your emergency car kit.
If you have to be in your car for an amount of time with the heat off, the non-scented candle will create enough warmth inside to fend off the chill without overwhelming you with fragrance.
A Blanket & Hot Pads
Besides being a comforting item to curl up with, a spare blanket is another key tool in helping you fend off the chill. You can even get special space-saving heat blankets that are designed to capture up to 90 percent of your body heat—but if you don’t have one, a regular blanket will do just fine.
Spare Water & Food
This one explains itself, but emergency water and food rations are an essential piece of your winter safety kit. Opt for snacks that are high in calories, can last a long time stored in a cool, dry place, and don’t require any extra tools to open or prepare.
Granola bars, trail mix, and emergency ration bars are all great products to get started with for your emergency kit. Opt for bottled water, which is easy to transport and store.
Headlamp or Flashlight with Batteries
Whether you have to change a tire, locate something in the dark, or just go for a walk, you’ll be happy you packed a portable light source.
First Aid Kit
Summer, winter, spring, or fall, a first aid kit is a great thing to have in your car. A good first aid kit will help you to treat minor injuries such as cuts, burns, slivers, and more.
A standard first aid kit will consist of items such as sterile bandages and gauze pads, adhesive tape, scissors and tweezers, gloves, antiseptic wipes or soap, instant ice packs, and more (see the Red Cross website for a full list).
Get Some Traction
It’s happened to us all: a heavy snowfall gets us stuck in a rut, literally. Whether you’re in your own driveway or further away from home, there are some easy things you can keep on hand to help you get some traction.
Consider keeping a two-litre container of sand or fresh kitty litter (yes, kitty litter) in your car to sprinkle under your tires in a pinch. If you don’t have those items on hand, tree branches and boughs, or even your car's own floor mats can help you get out of a snowy situation.
A mini shovel can also be a useful tool to help you or someone else out of the loose, tractionless snow.