With the exception of the southernmost stretches of the Southwest and Florida, every drive in the United States faces the chance of winter weather while on the road at some time during the year. As the holidays and colder weather approach, more and more Americans are going to hit the road to visit family and friends. Here at Tire World USA, we’re committed to more than just providing the best priced tires and wheels to our customers – we’re committed to helping you get to where you need to go safely. That’s why we’re starting our Winter Safety Series of blogs this year — so you have the knowledge and resources to prepare for and handle anything that this winter has to throw at you.
Read more below to learn about the essential ingredients for your winter car bag and additional recommendations and tips from Tire World USA for how to stay safe this winter. Remember, besides the items listed below, a good set of tires appropriate for winter weather are the best way to make sure you have the traction and stability to be safe in the snow, sleet, and ice this winter. Shop our selection of all-terrain tires for trucks and SUVs, or find the right set of new tires for your car at TyresGator.com.
The Winter Essentials
Ice and snow make for terribly dangerous driving conditions. Slipping, skidding, and sliding can all leave you stranded and waiting for help to arrive. Even if you have years of experience and the best tires possible on your vehicle, other drivers, road closures, and unpredictable storms can leave you out in the cold, especially if you find yourself unprepared. Here are the care essentials that every winter weather driver should keep in a backpack, duffel bag or Rubbermaid container in their car, truck or SUV.
A Snow Shovel
After prevention, preparedness is the next best thing when it comes to snow and ice. A small, collapsible snow shovel can help you dig your way out of lots of situations. Ideally, the shovel you choose should be lightweight with a sturdy handle and a square head that isn’t so big you’ll get tired quickly if you need to use it.
A Windshield Scraper & Brush
Many people who live where snow and ice formation on windshields is common already carry one of these in their vehicle. If you don’t have one, make sure to purchase a scraper that has a brush on it with a durable plastic handle. Handles that flex slightly under normal conditions can become brittle in the extreme cold and break during usage. Beyond the inconvenience of keeping track of two tools, an unexpected scraper break can cause injuries that make an already difficult situation even riskier and more challenging. Remember that in a situation where you are stranded for even a short amount of time, condensation can form and freeze on the inside of your windshield, limiting your ability to be seen by tow trucks and first responders.
A Flashlight with Extra Batteries
A flashlight is an essential tool because of the numerous ways it can be used in an emergency situation. Your flashlight can help you be seen and see others, while also acting as a signaling device for other traffic, your tow truck, or first responders. Additionally, depending on where you live, you may have eight, or fewer hours, of daylight to work with. A flashlight gives you the ability to read emergency instructions, find your gear, and signal for help no matter the conditions outside.
Food & Water
Snacks are always a good thing to keep in the car with you, just in case a trip takes longer than expected. When things really go wrong and you find yourself waiting for hours or worse, food and water become a necessity. Make sure to stock your winter car bag with snacks that are calorie rich and can be eaten warm or cold. Energy bars, raisins, nuts, granola, candy bars, and peanut butter are all great options. For water, distilled bottled water is preferable and can last for around six months before you should replace it. Most health experts agree you should drink about 64 ounces of water a day, so prepare with a half gallon, two-liter bottle, or three to four 20 ounce bottles.
Extra Clothing Layers
The temperature can change rapidly over the course of your trip, as weather, cloud cover, elevation, and precipitation can all play factors. If an emergency situation arises, you won’t be able to control where or when it happens. Stay warm by packing your car bag with clothing like extra mittens, socks, and hats that can help hold the heat in your extremities. Other clothing such as long johns, a fleece, and a waterproof outer layer can be handy in more severe situations.
You may find yourself with a dead battery at any time in the severe cold. Keep jumper cables in your winter car bag so that you aren’t counting on another person in the parking lot to have them. If you’re stranded for any length of time in a more remote area, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to get a jump from a good Samaritan passing by if your battery has slowly drained too far.
Cat Litter or Sand
Having good traction can save you from getting stuck or stranded, which is why good tires are so important in the snow. Much like a snow shovel, cat litter, sand, or coarse ice salt can give you the little bit of extra traction needed to break free from a rut. If using cat litter, be absolutely certain to get the non-clumping kind (which is conveniently less expensive) or it will just turn to mud beneath your spinning tires.
A Cell Phone Adaptor
Thankfully, most of us have one of the most important emergency devices for any situation on us at all times — our cell phones. Your phone can provide a lifeline to emergency or tow services, provide light, and even help you find crucial guidance for emergency situations as long as you have a signal and power. If you don’t already keep an adaptor for your cell phone in your car, get one and pack it in your winter car bag. Even if you have a built-in USB port — most 2014 and newer models do — it’s no good to you without a charging cable. Make sure you have the ability to keep your phone alive, it might just help you do the same.
Other Recommended Car Supplies For Winter
- A battery operated radio
- Prescription medications you need
- Small candles
- A first aid kit
- A pocket knife
- Blankets or a sleeping bag
- A tow chain or rope
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag or clothing
- A safety whistle
- Keep the batteries in your flashlight loaded backward during storage to prevent accidental usage.
- Keep your winter car bag in the cabin of your vehicle in case your trunk is jammed or gets frozen shut.
- If you usually travel with other people (like your children) make sure to have enough warm clothing, food, and water for them.
Let Tire World USA Help
As we mentioned above, we are committed to helping our customers stay safe and on the road during winter conditions. That’s why beyond helpful tips like those above, we offer the best prices on all-terrain and all-weather tires. Don’t get caught unprepared this winter. Shop Tire World USA for the passenger car tires, SUV tires, or truck tires you need to keep you and your family safe this year and get great deals today.