Now that the seasons are changing and we are preparing for winter, it is a great time to make sure you (and your family) are properly prepared.  A key part of this planning process is a review of your Winter Car Emergency Kit.

Please take a minute to review this checklist and reduce the chances of being unprepared in a perilous situation.

As always, please feel free to contact your local CoSaint Financial independent insurance agent if you would like to discuss any of these items in more detail.  We have an experienced team of agents here to help you have a safe Holiday Season!

Winter Car Emergency Kit

A car emergency kit has some unique characteristics.  First, since you have limited space in your automobile compared to home preparations, it is very important to only pack the essentials to conserve as much space as possible.  Secondly, when you get stuck in your car, you do not have the same types of amenities as you do at home.  As a result, situations can arise that can be very serious (even life-threatening) if you get stranded in your automobile in remote locations.

The tips below can help you be better prepared for these situations.

Keep Your Car Topped Off and Well Serviced

Make sure you are aware of your current gas level and other important gauges of your vehicle, especially if you will be traveling on a lonely road or frozen highway.

Also, be certain to get your vehicle serviced on a regular schedule basis.  Keep a diligent log of your vehicle service and maintenance activities to assure you reduce the chances of your vehicle breaking down or malfunctioning.

Assess Your Driving Patterns and Plan for the Worst

The amount of inclement weather preparation you’ll need is dependent on your driving patterns, routes, and purpose.  If you often travel in rural areas, you will potentially need different gear than urban drivers.

When it comes to planning, at minimum, you should plan to be stuck with your car for at least one day.  It’s a rarity to be in such a situation, but the cost of being unprepared is too great not be prepared to survive for at least one day on your own if stranded in a remote area.  Hydration, food and warmth are the key areas of focus for your preparations.

Hydration, Food, and Warmth

Staying warm and well hydrated are the most important things to consider when stranded in your automobile.  You can go a long, albeit uncomfortable time, without food.  However, you won’t last very long if your body temperature drops or you go for hours without water.

It is important to keep an adequate supply of water in your vehicle at all times.  Small water containers are very handy, as they are easier to thaw if they become frozen. You can also keep your water in a small cooler.  A small water cooler that can keep fluids cool for almost a week during warm weather, and will also help keep water from freezing if stranded in extremely chilly weather.  If you live in a particularly rough and isolated area, you might also consider keeping an emergency stove and small camp pan in your emergency kit for melting snow.  The two will run you under $15.

Food is also a critical component for your emergency kit. You’ll want to focus on packing calorie-dense, non-perishable foods like energy bars, nuts, granola and dried fruit. It is best to select food you actually normally enjoy eating and then rotate it out of the car every few weeks.

You also need warmth in these situations.  Consider having a sleeping bag (or blanket) in the truck, along with winter boots and additional winter clothing.  The clothes don’t need to be fancy, just enough to keep you warm.  Don’t overlook hats, scarves, and gloves, as they help keep heat in at high loss points like the hands, neck and head.


You don’t want to be looked over by other motorists and rescue workers if you are stranded in your vehicle. You need a way to signal for help. Many times, your car’s electrical system may not be functioning, so it is recommended to have an LED emergency beacon (or two) in your vehicle to signal for help.

These emergency beacons aren’t particularly expensive; you can pick them up at backpacking / outdoor stores and many auto supply stores.  It is important to purchase a beacon that is battery powered and highly visible for long distance. While you’re shopping for a beacon, also pick up a LED flashlight (or two).  Aim for getting a lower power flashlight with a long battery life as some of high-intensity models have short battery life.

Other Items

Consider having things in your kit like a bag of sand for additional traction, jumper cables, and a tow rope (or chain) in case you are stuck and/or immobile. In addition, a shovel (smaller, sturdy shovels sized for a child are always handy go to this web-site.  These can fit easily in the trunk and still have a wide surface area compared to tiny, emergency shovels.

We hope these tips are helpful this Winter Season.  It only takes a few minutes to properly prepare for emergencies, so please consider the tips above to protect you and your family.