Being stuck in the snow is part of dealing with winter, but if you are unprepared, it can cost you your life. Whether it’s shoveling out your car after a massive snowfall or keeping loved ones warm while you wait for help, knowing what to do and having the proper supplies can literally be the difference between living or dying. If you don’t already have one, this guide will hep you create your own emergency winter car safety kit.

Let’s dive right into it. Preparedness doesn’t wait.

General Tips:

  • Your trunk might freeze shut or be otherwise inaccessible. Keep the first list of items in the passenger compartment so you can get to them.
  • Never leave your family to go for help, and never leave your car if you are alone– especially in a blizzard or extreme cold temperatures.
  • Refrain from overexerting yourself. It’s extremely dangerous in the cold to get wet. Wet clothing makes you susceptible to hypothermia. Take all precautions to stay dry.
  • Pack your kit in a waterproof, durable container. Don’t make it too big. Don’t lock it in case you can’t get in.
  • If making a trip in inclement weather, or going a long distance, make sure someone knows you are going. Provide your exact route, when you leave, and how long it should take to get there. Check in when you arrive at your destination. If you do not, the designated person can get you help. This is why it’s important to not deviate from your planned route.

To Keep in Car:

  • Food that wont expire (Energy bars, for example)

  • Water (replace every six months). IN plastic bottles that won’t break when frozen

  • Emergency candle in a large can. Or tea lights.

  • Fire starting methods (matches, lighter, magnesium flint)

  • Extra gloves, hats, scarfs, and socks.

  • Hand/feet warmers

  • Emergency blankets, extra clothes

  • First Aid Kit w/ seatbelt cutter

  • Whistle

  • Road maps (paper copy)

  • Collapsible shovel

  • Copy of your emergency plan

  • First aid/ CPR manual

  • Wind-up flashlight

  • Ice/Snow-Scraper

  • Cable ties

  • Emergency Flag (tie to antennae for visibility)

To Keep in Trunk:

  • Cat litter (non-clumping), road salt, or sand
  • Larger shovel
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road Flares or emergency light (LED Strobe, for example)

The tips below were taken from The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness:

Follow these tips if you are stuck in the snow:

  • Try to stay calm and don’t go out in the cold. Stay in your car: you will avoid getting lost and your car is a safe shelter.
  • Don’t tire yourself out. Shoveling in the intense cold can be deadly.
  • Let in fresh air by opening a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
  • Keep the engine off as much as possible. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not obstructed by snow.
  • If possible, use a candle placed inside a deep can instead of the car heater to warm up.
  • Turn on warning lights or set up road flares to make your car visible.
  • Turn on the ceiling light; leaving your headlights or hazard lights on for too long will drain the battery.
  • Move your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation. Stay awake.
  • Keep an eye out for other cars and emergency responders. Try to keep clothing dry since wet clothing can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat.

If you have a way to make this better or want to add any tips, please let me know in the comments and I will add it.