Winter car safety: 9 essential items to pack to stay safe in an emergency

·Shopping & Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read
Mature man, male in winter coat cleaning, shoveling driveway, street from covered falling, snow in heavy snowing snowstorm with shovel, residential houses, cars parked on road
These essential winter car safety items can help keep you safe on the road this season. (Getty Images)

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It goes without saying that severe winter weather is just part of the package deal that comes with living in Canada. We're no strangers to snow, rain, ice and hail, and the best way to take on the season is to be prepared for it.

Preparation applies to all aspects of our daily lives, including the car. Since you never want to be caught unawares, making sure that your car is stocked with safety essentials is always a good idea.

We may be well into the season, but it's never too late to get your car geared up for dealing with potential winter emergencies. In the event that you do find yourself in need of assistance, you'll be glad that you kept these essential items on hand.

1. Shovel

Yardworks Telescopic Trunk Snow Shovel. Image via Canadian Tire.
Yardworks Telescopic Trunk Snow Shovel. Image via Canadian Tire.

A shovel is a must-have for any car kit, and can help you out if you find yourself stuck in a snow bank. While they are useful to have on hand, you'll want to ensure that you take breaks and don't tire overexert yourself, as shovelling in the intense cold can be deadly.

$25 at Canadian Tire

2. First aid kit

Compact First Aid Kit. Image via Amazon.
Compact First Aid Kit. Image via Amazon.

A compact and portable first aid kit is another useful item to have on hand in case you're ever in need of items like bandages, gauze, sterilizing wipes and more.

$50 at Amazon

3. Jumper cables

Husky 20 ft. 4-Gauge UL Booster Cable. Image via Home Depot.
Husky 20 ft. 4-Gauge UL Booster Cable. Image via Home Depot.

Not only are jumper cables an important item to keep on hand in case your own car battery dies, they're also helpful should you come across another motorist in a sticky situation. Whether you accidentally left your lights on or cold weather drained your battery, they're the quickest way to bring your car back to life.

$38 at Home Depot

4. Snow and ice scraper

AstroAI 27 Inch Snow Brush and Detachable Ice Scraper. Image via Amazon.
AstroAI 27 Inch Snow Brush and Detachable Ice Scraper. Image via Amazon.

When it comes to snow and ice, a combination scraper and brush is a useful tool to have around. In addition to your windshield, rearview mirrors, and windows, you'll also want to make sure that your car's roof is all clear of snow before hitting the road or risk getting hit with fines.

$20 $24 at Amazon

5. Flashlight

The American Red Cross Clipray the crank-powered, clip-on flashlight and smartphone charger. Image via Amazon.
The American Red Cross Clipray the crank-powered, clip-on flashlight and smartphone charger. Image via Amazon.

Winter weather means early nightfalls, so you'll want to add a flashlight to your list of car staples. One that's powered by a crank is ideal for winter weather, since it can be left in your car without worrying about their power draining like in battery powered models.

$20 at Amazon

6. Sand or kitty litter

Antiskid Sand, 10-kg. Image via Canadian Tire.
Antiskid Sand, 10-kg. Image via Canadian Tire.

You can also keep sand or kitty litter on hand, which will provide the extra grit that tires need to gain traction. CAA recommends avoiding substances like salt for extra traction, since it can cause your car to rust more easily.

$4 at Canadian Tire

7. Warm blanket and clothing

Arcturus Military Wool Blanket. Image via Amazon.
Arcturus Military Wool Blanket. Image via Amazon.

If you do find yourself stuck in your car during a winter storm, experts recommend staying calm and not going out in the cold. Staying in your car will help you avoid getting lost and your car is a safe shelter that can be made even more protective by being well stocked with blankets and warm clothing.

$59 at Amazon

8. Warning light or road flares

CIL Orion Emergency Flare Road Kit. Image via Canadian Tire.
CIL Orion Emergency Flare Road Kit. Image via Canadian Tire.

To ensure that other cars are able to see you if you're pulled over to the side of the road, consider adding warning lights or road flares to your winter safety kit.

$22 at Canadian Tire

9. Nonperishable food and water

Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Chewy Nut Bars, 32-Count. Image via Amazon.
Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Chewy Nut Bars, 32-Count. Image via Amazon.

Since you never know how long you may have to wait things out in your car, keeping a stash of long-lasting non-perishables like granola bars is recommended. You'll also want to pack bottles of water, or a cup that can be used to melt down snow into drinkable water.

$11 $13 at Amazon

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