Gear for Winter Driving

Trent Ernst, Editor


There are a lot of long, lonely roads around the Peace, and if you happen to get stuck on one, there’s a good chance you may be spending several hours, maybe even overnight, before the next vehicle passes by.

Having the proper items in your car can help keep you safe and warm while you wait.

First and foremost, carry blankets. If you run out of gas, or your car won’t start, your first priority is to keep warm. Blankets are the best way to do this. Extra winter clothes will also help you keep warm, especially if you need to leave the vehicle. Layers are key – the more layers of clothes you can put on, the warmer you’ll be down at the surface of your skin.

Pro tip: if you are travelling with others, you can share  blankets and body warmth

Flares or an LED roadside safety light will help rescuers see you. If they’re searching and all they can see is white, light will make all the difference in your discovery. Also, if you are stuck on the road, this will alert vehicles coming up on your position that you are there.

A first aid kit and the knowledge of how to use it is vital if someone is hurt in an accident. You should always have one of these in the vehicle, and not just in winter.

Jumper cables. Again, these are year-round items, but cars have a habit of not starting more in the winter, as cold is extremely hard on the battery. There are special battery warmers that you can buy to help keep your battery warm when the vehicle is plugged in.

A bag of sand will add weight to your car, improving traction, and can be spread under your tires to help you get traction if you get stuck in a bad position.

An ice scraper. Enough said.

Dried food like beef jerky and granola bars are good to keep for an emergency. Storing liquids in the vehicle is a bad idea, as they could freeze and spill, but a pot and small candle can be used to melt snow to water. Make sure to keep your window open a crack when burning the candle.

Emergency tire sealant: Again, this is a year-round item in my car. You don’t really want to try and change a flat in the middle of a blizzard; this can help you get to the next town in a pinch.

A flashlight can be used to signal other vehicles, as well as for finding things in a dark car if your car battery is dead. Make sure you have extra batteries for the flashlight, too.

A flat bladed shovel can be used to dig yourself out. If you have the room, you can get a large one. If you have a smaller vehicle, you can buy a folding avalanche shovel.

Depending on how much space you have, there are other things you might choose to add to this kit, like extra windshield washer fluid and a tow strap.