After enjoying a few months of easy-breeze summer driving, the first snowstorm of the year can really throw you off-guard. Many drivers find themselves unprepared for a sudden winter storm, leaving them without items they need. Make sure you’re ready for the snow and ice by stocking your car with these 14 winter essentials.
This is a must for every driver in the winter! Have one on you and one in your car. No one wants to be in a rush for work, only to see a thick, unmoving layer of ice covering their car. Even with heavy, fluffy snowfall, a layer of hard ice will form not only on the windows of your car, but also around the entire car in some cases. This can make it hard to open doors, move handles or slide windows down.
It’s best to prevent the buildup of ice by investing in a car cover for the winter for easy removal. If that’s not an option, keep a scraper. These scrapers often come with an attached snow brush to wipe away bigger snow layers to make scraping easier. Never use a spatula or something else from your home to scrape away snow, as this can cause scrapes on your car. If ice is too tough, you can mix rubbing alcohol with water and apply it to your car to melt the ice.
Your ice scraper won’t do you much good if your car is surrounded by a foot or more of snow. A small shovel can come in handy to dig your car out when you need it. Smaller shovels are great for directly around a car and for digging a path out of your driveway or parking lot to larger areas that have been plowed.
If you wear specific shoes for work, wear your snow boots until you get there so your footing is strong on snow and ice and so you stay warm. For women who wear skirts or dresses to work, invest in a long coat to shield your whole body from the cold winter air. Keeping an emergency blanket in your car (preferably fleece or a similar material) can keep you warm in transit.
Gloves or driving gloves are also a smart investment for outdoors and driving so you’re not trying to maneuver a vehicle with frozen hands. Check winter conditions before leaving your home and dress accordingly to avoid health and safety issues with the cold. Always keep blankets in your car if you get stranded by a blizzard or black ice on the road.
Prepare for any winter disaster by having emergency kits in your car. Include a first-aid kit equipped with all the items you would need to bandage wounds in case of a car accident. Keep a food kit in your car that can keep you well-fed and hydrated for days. Each family member should have a food kit. Have a third kit for tools that can help patch busted tires or can help with basic tweaks—such as a wrench to move frozen screws under the hood of your car.
Reflectors can help you be seen by other drivers so they don’t hit you or your car when you’re stuck in the snow. Reflectors can also help passersby to detect cars in ditches due to heavy snowfall or black ice. When a situation like this happens to you, keep several flares handy to signal to the entire surrounding area that you need assistance. These are items that can save your life.
Sand, rock salt and kitty litter are all materials that can help melt snow when you’re stuck in a driveway, on the road, in a parking lot and in similar situations. Keep one of these in your car to help melt the snow and give your car traction to move. Heavy bags can also help keep your car grounded due to weight and can help prevent your car from hydroplaning.
Windshield wiper fluid is designed to help melt snow and ice in an instant when other cars kick up snow and ice. However, a long drive can use up all of your wiper fluid. Keep an extra bottle of fluid on hand in your car so you can refill the tank in a bind.
Tow chains and ropes are a must to get yourself out of a ditch when emergency help is not available. This is especially true for rural areas, where it can take much longer for someone to find you or to get your car out of snow. If stationary objects (like trees) are around, you could help yourself too. Jumper cables will help start up a dead car. If you drive alone or at night, you might want to get a self-jumping kit that works without assistance. Always keep extra flashlights and batteries in your vehicle to see if you get stranded at night or are in darker areas of town. All of these items should be part of your emergency kits.
Prevention is always key and something that every driver should think about in the winter. Heat up your car ahead of when you have to leave for work or school so you don’t have delays or car trouble. Plan your route ahead of time so you don’t run into winter conditions and construction. Choose shorter and less busy routes to your destination to avoid car accidents and traffic jams. To prepare your car tires, brakes and steering for the winter, you can call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto today at (970) 682-4202!