Preparing a Well-Stocked Winter Car Kit

By Lesley Green
Cars receiving boost from jump cables in snow.

Now that the weather has turned chilly across all of Canada, it's time to start thinking about winter and ensuring your car is properly equipped for the upcoming season.

Winter driving can be hazardous, and to be prepared for any situation on the road, a winter car kit is a must in every vehicle. Putting together a well-stocked winter car kit is quick and simple and can be easily stored in a waterproof tub or bag so it will be ready for you whenever you need it.

Your winter car kit

In addition to your usual winter car supplies, like extra windshield wiper fluid and a brush to remove snow from your car, your winter car kit should include:

  • A first aid kit. Your first aid kit should include items like sterile gauze pads (both small and large), adhesive tape, bandages, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, an ice pack, and antiseptic wipes.
  • Non-perishable food and water. Energy bars are a good choice as they don’t take up much space. If you choose canned food, be sure to pack a manual can opener as well.
  • Blankets, extra clothes and a change of footwear. Keep at least one thermal blanket in your kit, as well as a pair of socks, gloves and even a change of clothing if you have space. If you’re trying to dig out of the snow, wet clothes are a likely outcome, and a dry change will keep you warmer.
  • A shovel and cat litter or sand. A folding camp shovel can help you dig out of a snowbank, while a bag of cat litter (or sand) will act to provide traction on ice if your tires are spinning.
  • A flashlight and batteries. Keep a good flashlight and an extra set of batteries in your kit in case of a problem at night.
  • Road flares. Flares can help other motorists see you if you’re on the side of the road, especially during a winter storm. Set them out at enough of a distance from your location that other cars will have time to safely slow down before reaching your car.
  • Heat packets. Small packets that heat up automatically without requiring a power source can help to keep hands and feet warm, especially if you can’t start the car for heat.
  • An emergency phone battery charger. These special emergency chargers can give you enough power to make a phone call if your phone's battery is dead and you can’t charge it in the car.
  • Waterproof matches and candles. Keep some emergency candles as well as a box of matches in the car kit for times when electronic sources of light fail. Emergency candles are long burning and can also be used as a source of heat. Make sure you've got something to hold the candle in though that isn't flammable or will get too hot to touch.
  • A Swiss Army Knife. A Swiss Army Knife, with all of its various gadgets, can come in handy if stranded on the side of the road.
  • Jumper cables and a tow chain or rope. If your car won't start, or if you hit a patch of ice and end up in a ditch, these will ensure you've got the tools necessary when help arrives to get out of a jam quicker.

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Keeping your car kit stocked

It’s a good idea to check your car kit over at the beginning of every winter season. Replace any items that show signs of wear or food items that are expired, and, be sure to replenish items that are used in an emergency right away, so that they’ll be there should you need them again.

Put a chill on your car insurance premiums

There's no denying it, there's a chill in the air and the season is changing. A change in season is also the ideal time to take a few quick minutes to see if you’re still getting the best car insurance rate out there. With it takes just a few short minutes for you to compare quotes from our network of over 30 insurance providers. It's time well spent too. On average, drivers save $427 after shopping their car insurance rates. Perhaps it’s time to see if you could warm up your wallet and save too.